BlackBerry Dakota to Host NFC, Mobile Hotspot, Touchscreen?

We’ve heard the code-name Dakota tossed around for some time, mostly in reference to a BlackBerry in the traditional candybar form factor with both a touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard. A single early prototype had surfaced around this time last year, but today a newer device and some solid-looking specs are making the rounds.

At first, it might not look much different from the current Bold series, but the rumoured specs tell a different story altogether:

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Tri-band UMTS
  • 5 megapixel camera with HD video recording, flash, and image stabilization
  • 4GB of built in storage, 768MB of RAM
  • 2.8-inch VGA 640×480 capacitive screen
  • Wi-Fi b,g,n on 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies
  • 3G mobile hotspot
  • MicroUSB port
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • Magnetometer
  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity sensor
  • 10.5mm thin
  • Launches with BlackBerry OS 6.1

Obviously NFC is a pretty huge deal, which would enable a host of contactless payment options, and only see competition from the Nexus S for the time being. Mobile hotspot functionality is something we’ve been expecting from RIM, so it’s good to see it finally coming to fruition to meet competitors, like the iPhone. A magnetometer means we’ll finally be able to start getting augmented reality apps on BlackBerry, which is something just about every other smartphone platform has been able to offer since pointing your phone’s camera at something and looking at Terminator-style overlaid information became a thing. I’m curious to hear what OS 6.1 brings to the table, if anything special. Finally, the physical keyboard/touchscreen combo has only ever been done on the Torch, which not everyone is particularly happy with. The traditional BlackBerry form factor has a good reputation though, and if it keeps the same 1500 mAH battery as the 9700, it’s bound to be a hit with BlackBerry diehards.

Fans of other platforms will guffaw at RIM for still using the 640 x 480 display, but those of us who have used a BlackBerry for any significant amount of time will know that translates to saved battery life. It’s a little disappointing that RIM’s next smartphone won’t be making the jump to the PlayBook’s QNX Neutrino operating system, but we know it’s coming sooner or later.

Anyway, the same ol’ buttoned-down style might have a few people yawning, but those specs have me pretty excited. Anyone else?

[via BGR]

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