updated 12:45 pm EDT, Thu October 14, 2010
Jeffries says Storm3 intact, PlayBook 2 coming
Jefferies & Co. this week issued a research note that insisted that RIM hadn't cancelled the Storm3 and that a second BlackBerry PlayBook tablet was in the works. It claimed that the model with the click-down SurePress screen had indeed been cancelled but that a version without, like the Torch, was on track for late November. The Storm3 that ships would still be very mild with 512MB of RAM, BlackBerry 6 and a five-megapixel camera as its only upgrades over the 2009 phone.
Analysts with the group also pointed to a supposed "iPhone-like form factor" coming in the first half of 2011. The design would be "slimmer," though it's unsaid whether this is compared to the iPhone or the Storm3, and might use the same QNX-based BlackBerry Tablet OS that underpins the PlayBook.
The PlayBook itself would have its ship date narrowed down to sometime in late February or early March but would also have a quick followup later the same year. A sequel device would arrive in the second half of the year and would have more than just the seven-inch size as well as to integrate 3G and 4G. RIM is known to be working on 4G BlackBerry hardware for Verizon.
Jeffries expected much of the BlackBerry platform to transition to the QNX foundations in the second half of 2011, but it cast doubt on its own rumors as it suggested the foundation might be used to poach Android apps. RIM would have developers port a "large portion" of Android apps to the store or even virtualize them. Google hasn't made Android readily available for virtualization, and running apps in a virtual environment would require significant performance increases over today's hardware.
RIM has declined to confirm any of the as yet unverified plans, but it's known to be eager to catch up now that it's losing smartphone market share and has been caught off-guard by the iPad. If true, the Storm3 might suffer as it would be using a two-year-old processor; a QNX-based iPhone-like device and the PlayBook series may improve its standing by giving it much improved performance and a modern interface. [via eWeek]