updated 11:20 am EDT, Fri July 10, 2009
BBerry Onyx Trackpad Photo
An image has surfaced today that appears to confirm plans to give the BlackBerry Onyx its recently rumored optical trackpad. The photo (pictured), which also shows the Curve 8520 on the right, supports notions that RIM is phasing out trackballs not just on entry-level phones like the 8520 but also high-end upgrades and likely all non-touch phones. Leaks have supported beliefs that the Onyx will replace the Bold for AT&T and other GSM carriers.
The transition to optical pads is believed to have originated in precision and reliability concerns. A trackpad gives a more direct impression of where the cursor is going and eliminates any moving parts, preventing dirt or a broken mechanism from interfering with input as it would in a ball. RIM's particular design also reduces the practical thickness of a given phone.
When the Onyx ships isn't certain, but a late 2009 release is possible and is likely to be an AT&T exclusive in the US.