RIM Offers New Curve with BlackBerry 7 OS
Research In Motion is continuing its rapid cadence of new BlackBerry releases, announcing Aug. 23 that three new Curve smartphones-the 9350, 9360 and 9370-will debut in Canada this month, followed by a global release beginning in September.
The Curve is part of RIM's latest attempt to reinvigorate its BlackBerry line with new devices running BlackBerry 7 OS, which the company claims offers faster browsing, smoother navigation, voice-activated universal search and preinstalled applications such as the enhanced BlackBerry Messenger 6.
In addition to the new BlackBerry Bold, an ultra-thin variant on RIM's classic keyboard-and-screen smartphone design, there's also the Blackberry Torch 9850/9860 and BlackBerry Torch 9810. The latter is RIM's update of the Torch line, with a slide-out keyboard and 3.2-inch touch display. The Torch 9850/9860, on the other hand, falls back on a 3.7-inch screen without a physical QWERTY keyboard-in keeping with the touch-screen-only model already embraced by much of the smartphone industry.
Like these other devices, the newest Curve features a slim design. Other features include a 2.44-inch screen, integrated GPS support, 5-megapixel camera with flash, and microSD/SDHC slot with support for a 32GB memory card (onboard memory totals 512MB).
RIM is also seeking to promote its PlayBook tablet, which shipped around 500,000 units in its first quarter of release and faces stiff competition from Apple's iPad. Earlier in August, Sprint canceled plans to launch a 4G version of the PlayBook, although RIM passed that off as a strategic decision. "RIM has decided to prioritize and focus its 4G development resources on LTE [Long-Term Evolution]," it wrote in a statement. "We remain excited and committed to delivering innovative and powerful 4G tablets to the U.S. market together with our carrier partners."
RIM reported June 16 it had earned $4.9 billion in revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, down 12 percent from the previous quarter. Net income also declined, while RIM curbed earnings per share for fiscal 2012 to between $5.25 and $6. The company continues to fight for market share against a host of determined competitors, including Apple and Google. Even as it releases these new devices with BlackBerry 7 OS, RIM is pinning its broader hopes on a line of QNX-powered "superphones" due sometime in 2012.