updated 03:10 pm EDT, Mon October 5, 2009
BlackBerry Dakota and Essex get early info
Two of RIM's more important future QWERTY BlackBerries have been spoiled today through a pair of slips of details as well as photos. Formerly known as the Magnum, the Dakota should be RIM's first smartphone to have a touchscreen in a conventional shape, like Palm's devices. Salomondrin adds that its camera may be unique in the industry as a whole: it would use a "liquid lens" system that changes the shape of the lens itself to refocus without needing a thick and at times unnatural mechanical focusing system.
Little else is known about the Dakota other than that it would have the now-standard trackpad and work on GSM (and likely HSPA) networks.
At the same time, a photo set confirms the existence of the BlackBerry Essex and that it will largely be an upgraded Tour with Wi-Fi and the optical trackpad of newer BlackBerries. A better camera is also promised, and the phone would continue to run on CDMA networks. It's likely the Essex will be the promised Tour upgrade for both Sprint and Verizon.
No release window has been hinted at for the Dakota in recent memory, though Sprint in teasing the Essex had said it wouldn't ship until 2010.