The other night was a little disappointing since neither of the new BlackBerry devices announced (the Torch 9810 and Torch 9850/60) had near-field communications or mobile Wi-Fi hotspot features. The upcoming Curve 9360 (code-named Apollo), may very well have them included, however. This is pretty interesting, considering we’re expecting the 9360 to be a lower-tier option among the new BlackBerry devices.
From what we’ve seen, the BlackBerry 9360 will run OS 7 just like the Bold 9900, Torch 9810, and Torch 9850/60, but have a more modest 480 x 360 display, 800 MHz processor, and 512 MB of RAM. A magnetic compass seems to be one of the few consistent threads across RIM’s new devices, and will likely find its way into the 9360, unless of course they want to keep the price low and decide to take it out. The camera matches the bigger BlackBerry brothers at 5 megapixels with an LED flash – a definite improvement over the Curve 9300. It won’t have a touchscreen, but we hear that a variant code-named Orlando will.
The only reasons I could see for RIM pulling mobile hotspot out of the Torch 9810 and 9850/60 is that either carriers wanted to nix it, or RIM could get the software ready and optimized in time. If the latter ends up being true, we might see mobile hotspot unlocked in a firmware update down the line. It’s too bad that there’s so much complication here, since it’s a pretty standard feature for smartphones now, and there are still other stuff RIM needs to start getting into their phones, like DLNA for sharing media to home entertainment systems over the local Wi-Fi. NFC is less of a necessity since there’s still not a huge retail presence for contactless payments, but it’s an unavoidable eventuality, and having a strong presence in that space could give RIM a much-needed handhold in the future.
Are there certain features that are a must-have in new smartphones now? HDMI-out? DLNA? NFC? Mobile hotspot?