updated 10:40 pm EDT, Thu April 24, 2008
BlackBerry 8900 Delayed
Research in Motion's 3G-capable BlackBerry won't launch at the same time as its 3G iPhone counterpart and may have been intentionally delayed, claim sources speaking to Fortune. The handset, now said to be named the BlackBerry 8900 and nicknamed the Meteor, has allegedly had its AT&T release pushed back from June to as far as August. The official explanation is said to revolve around call quality concerns for the smartphone, which is likely to replace the top-end 8800.
However, those same sources suggest the technical justification is a cover for more strategic motives, the magazine reports. AT&T is rumored to be moving the phone's launch ahead by multiple weeks to avoid timing the 8900's launch with the release of a 3G-capable iPhone within days of the BlackBerry, negating the full sales impact of either or both devices. Analyst expectations and other reports would have Apple announce an iPhone with this faster cellular Internet access at its Worldwide Developer Conference on June 10th and release the device no later than June 27th, the Friday closest to the one-year anniversary of the original iPhone's launch on June 29th, 2007.
The 8900 is already known to back up its 3G access (achieved using the HSDPA standard used by AT&T) with a friendlier home screen and may also include both GPS navigation and Wi-Fi at the same time, outperforming or exceeding the current iPhone in terms of sheer feature set and matching devices such as the Nokia N95.
Neither AT&T nor RIM is willing to comment on the allegation, though the delay would prove damaging to the smartphone maker's financial performance for the summer quarter by forcing it to rely on older, less popular models for all but the last few days of the period. [image via Engadget]