RIM Launches New BlackBerry Curve

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Research In Motion has unveiled the newest version of its best-selling BlackBerry Curve smartphone

Research In Motion announced new BlackBerry Curve smartphones in London today – and operators Three and Vodafone will be stocking them.

The Curve 9360 comes hot on the heels of the new Bold, Torch and Touch handsets, and is the latest to run the company’s updated OS, BlackBerry 7.

Similar to the Bold, the slimline Curve features NFC capability, the familiar QWERTY keyboard and an optical track-pad for navigation. It also has a 2.4in screen and a microSD/SDHC slot allows for memory up 32GB.

The handsets are GPS and Wi-Fi enabled, with a 5MP video-capable camera and integrated flash.

Due to be available worldwide in September, the only word on pricing is that it will sit below the Bold, Torch and Touch for mass-market appeal. However,  Three has confirmed that it will carry the Curve 9360 and it has been reported that Vodafone will also sell it.

Mass appeal

“These new models will build on the incredible success of the Blackberry Curve line and further expand the largest global launch of Blackberry smartphones in our history,” said Mike Lazaridis, president at Research In Motion (RIM).

RIM said the Curve models launched today address the market for customers upgrading existing feature phones or older Curve models.

For the enterprise user, BlackBerry Balance is integrated into BB7 so that the Curve can hook into secure email from the BlackBerry Enterprise Server while simultaneously allowing for personal use of a company phone.

The premium version of document editing app Documents To Go is pre-loaded as is BlackBerry Protect for backing up into the cloud.

Being for the mass-market, the new Curve features deep integration with social networks  such as Facebook and Twitter, and BlackBerry Messenger 6 allows developers to build BBM integrated apps for in-app sharing.

BlackBerry 7 OS

Although not a significant overhaul, RIM hopes the BB 7 OS will level the playing field between it and iPhones running iOS as well as Android devices. BB 7 has to see it through to the launch of QNX based devices, which use the same OS as RIM’s Playbook tablet, and are its strategic direction.

The BlackBerry 7 WebKit engine achieves 40 percent faster browsing than BB6 in RIM’s internal testing and enhanced zooming and panning. It also supports HTML5.

The messaging app is fully customisable and can organise any or all of SMS, BBM, email messages, calendar entries and even Facebook messages in the same place.

The Curve 9360 is the range’s GSM model, which can connect to 2G, 3G and HSPA data networks. RIM has also launched the CDMA-only 9350  and the GSM and CDMA 9370 version of the Curve handset.

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