updated 10:35 am EST, Fri November 13, 2009
RIM's BBerry 9900 and WebKit browser
RIM's rumored BlackBerry 9900 and WebKit-based browser gained corroborating evidence today with a research note from Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. He points to contacts in the industry and parts suppliers who say the touchscreen slider phone is in development and resembles a cross between the Storm2 and one of RIM's non-touch QWERTY devices. It's currently in the prototype stage and is likely to ship sometime in 2010.
The phone is theoretically a "best of both worlds" device as it would bring RIM's reputation for hardware keyboards into the modern era with a touch display, Wu says.
Talk of a WebKit browser for the BlackBerry follows the company both buying a developer and, in recent weeks, recruiting a WebKit developer. It would replace RIM's aging proprietary web code with a modern foundation also shared by Apple, Google and Palm with support for current HTML standards. Wu also hears that RIM may loosen its controls over the web and let Google or even Microsoft offer their own browsers as a substitute.
Either move could be a significant help to RIM, which has seen tepid reactions to the Storm2 as the Droid has undermined some of the publicity that would otherwise have gone towards the BlackBerry line due to its own slider form factor and modern Internet support.