Considering how well Research In Motion did with their last generation of BlackBerry smartphones, can they possibly top it with their newest line? After all, they doubled their U.S. market share from the second quarter 2007 to the same period in 2008. So how could they do any better than that? The answer is not clear now, but they're certainly shooting for the moon this time around.
The ensemble begins with the highly anticipated BlackBerry Bold. Announced in May at WES 2008, the Bold is set to arrive on major GSM carriers by the end of the summer. It has faced various delays, much to RIM's detriment, but the device still promises to be the best BlackBerry to date.
Rather than sticking to the strictly corporate market RIM sought with previous BlackBerry models, the Bold has taken a leap into the consumer sector. Instead of a small amount of on-board memory, the Bold has a full gigabyte. While this doesn't match up with some other multimedia phone giants, it represents a vast improvement over previous BlackBerry models, and could be just what RIM customers are looking for. The 3G radio also helps separate this device, as it is the first such offering by Research In Motion.
RIM also has an entry-level phone planned for a fall release: the BlackBerry Pearl 8220. This was leaked as early as April 2008, and many thought it would be dubbed the Kickstart. It is the first major flip model by RIM, and is intended for the first-time BlackBerry user. It will not feature a 3G radio like the Bold, but it will still provide a good experience for younger consumers. The price tag, $50 with a contract, will make it even more enticing as will the increasingly inviting games and BlackBerry software geared for personal and casual users being developed for it.
As a follow-up to the Curve, RIM has also developed the BlackBerry Javelin. It features a design similar to the Bold, and a keyboard similar to the Curve. This will satisfy yet another sector of the market. Because it will not feature a 3G radio, the Javelin will work well on such U.S. operators as T-Mobile, which don't have the 3G coverage that AT&T has.
Finally, RIM plans to make a splash in the consumer market with the BlackBerry 9530. This has been dubbed both the Thunder and the Storm, though the model number holds up. This is the company's answer to the iPhone. It features a full touch screen, using Haptics technology. It will be the first RIM model to not feature a mechanical keyboard. Where the iPhone wants to reach the business market, RIM wants to reach the consumer sector. Time will only tell if each is successful.
Cooper Lang is a contributing writer for GoingCellular.com - a top resource for information on cell phone plans that includes reviews of cellular phone providers like Verizon Wireless as well industry news and information. http://www.goingcellular.com