updated 05:10 pm EST, Mon December 24, 2012
Possible final build of hardware keyboard-toting BlackBerry
Images of the forthcoming BlackBerry 10 N-Series handset with a physical keyboard have leaked once again, giving the best view to date of what the handset will look like when it launches some time next year. The device pictured in the new images looks largely unchanged from what was seen earlier this year in leaked press images, with a large, squarish touchscreen above the QWERTY keyboard that is the signature of the BlackBerry line. The N-Series is expected to launch after the all-touchscreen L-Series, which will debut in media events around the world on January 30.
The two forthcoming BlackBerry 10 devices illustrate the difficult position RIM finds itself in in the modern smartphone market. Once dominant among productivity-oriented phone users, RIM has hemorrhaged share to Apple's iPhone and Android-powered smartphone manufacturers. Those devices, by and large, are all-touchscreen affairs. To counter that trend, the L-Series BlackBerry 10 devices will have an all-touchscreen face.
Simultaneously, the hardware keyboard is a major selling point among the roughly 80 million BlackBerry users that have kept the company alive as it has retooled itself and its devices. The N-Series is meant to keep those users sated even as the company tries to bring in more users with the L-Series.
The newest version of RIM's mobile operating system, BlackBerry OS 10, is designed to run on both devices. RIM assures developers that the system is built to make scaling between the two different aspect ratios easy.
Still unrevealed is a third rumored device, the BlackBerry Aristo. This third device, uncovered in October, is said to sport a 4.65-inch screen with a resolution of 1290x720. As with the L-Series, the Aristo is expected to be an all-touchscreen device. Its internals and feature set, including On-Cell touch technology, seem aimed at making it a high-end handset. [via CN Beta]