Following up on the RIM’s first slider, the BlackBerry Torch 9800, rumour has it the next one will be smaller and cheaper. The reduced size suggests that such a device would have a condensed keyboard like the Pearl series, but that’s just fun with Photoshop at this point. Exactly how much cheaper we’re talking is open to interpretation, but it would have to be a significant drop in price if the top-end Torch is selling for $99 on contract.
The BlackBerry Curve 9300 is the forerunner of RIM’s current entry-level devices, and as such it wouldn’t be surprising to see this rumoured phone with the same QVGA display and 2 megapixel fixed-focus camera without flash. It’s likely they would ditch the touch capabilities and opt for a trackpad-only experience to save on costs. No doubt a smaller, lower-resolution display would help on that front too. Despite the lower-grade specs, odds are good that if this new slider does ever see the light of day, it’ll launch with OS 6, complete with WebKit browser, universal search, and other UI improvements over the old platform.
As for the style, another slider makes sense for RIM, as they’ve been trying to spread the BlackBerry experience to as many form factors as possible since they launched the original Pearl. The Style 9670 shows that they’re still interested in flip phones (even if us among the technorati aren’t), and the Torch kicked off their efforts with sliders. The Storm series has taken the backburner for RIM’s touchscreen slate efforts, but that’ll change soon enough. The only kind of phone RIM hasn’t done yet is a horizontal slider, which remains popular among Android handsets these days.
What do you guys think – could RIM use a Pearl-sized slider that’s as cheap as the Curve series?