updated 09:20 pm EST, Fri December 2, 2011
BlackBerry 2012 schedule details emerge
An uncharacteristically detailed roadmap has popped up showing that RIM plans an aggressive launch of not just its phones but its tablets. The London is tentatively slated for March, CrackBerry said, but would be accompanied almost immediately by the Milan. This second model might be a variant of the London and could support GSM carriers like AT&T and Rogers where the London would head to CDMA networks like Verizon.
RIM wouldn't confine itself to touchscreen-only models. The Nevada would be a mixture of touch and QWERTY keyboard similar to the Bold 9900, although it wouldn't arrive until later into the year. A less understood phone known as the Lisbon might be a BBX-based replacement for the Torch 9810 slider.
The most symbolic launch might be for the Black Forest, which is now thought to be the rumored 10-inch PlayBook. RIM had reportedly cancelled a larger model earlier, but this new design would be a rethink with the angled, metal look of the London. Little else was mentioned.
A new tablet would give added significance to co-CEO Mike Lazaridis' recommitment to tablets on Friday. Despite taking a near half-billion dollar hit on unsold PlayBooks, which could see as many as one million devices still in warehouses, the company would still be willing to remain in the category and experiment with what would work. A larger tablet had already been seen a concession to market realities that seven-inch tablets don't register in sales and would be a gauge to see if a more popular size and finally finishing the OS would be enough to change minds.
The new BBX platform, which should reach both RIM's phones and tablets, promises to give RIM its first truly modern smartphone platform and the same kind of unified foundation that Apple and Google already have. Having a March release could help staunch rapidly bleeding market share.