RIM announces three new BlackBerry Curve smartphones

All run the latest BlackBerry 7 OS

Research In Motion announced three new versions of the Blackberry Curve smartphone. Research in Motion today announced three new BlackBerry Curve smartphones running the latest BlackBerry 7 mobile operating system with its faster Web browsing experience.

The BlackBerry Curve 9350, Curve 9360 and Curve 9370 should be available in Canada in August and from carriers in other countries in September, RIM said, without naming carriers or pricing.

All three phones share the same look, with differences primarily in internal radios for different wireless networks used around the globe. All three come with a 2.44-in. screen (with 480 x 360 pixel resolution) above a traditional BlackBerry physical Qwerty keyboard.

All three have GPS and Wi-Fi, as well as a 5-megapixel camera with flash and video support and a MicroSD card slot to support up to 32 GB memory cards.

RIM described the devices as ideal for customers who want to upgrade from a feature phone to a smartphone or from an older Curve to get an "affordable, socially connected smartphone experience."

While analysts have noted the BlackBerry 7 OS is a marked improvement over previous versions, mainly for its improved browser, they say that most of RIM's hopes for success will depend on new devices running the QNX operating system. RIM expects smartphones running QNX to appear in 2012. That OS is already featured in RIM's PlayBook tablet.

RIM announced two BlackBerry Bold smartphones, the 9900 and 9930, in May, each running the BlackBerry 7 OS.

The BlackBerry 7 OS also offers voice-activated universal searching and is pre-loaded with a Documents to Go and BlackBerry Messenger.

All three of the new Curves measure 4.3 in. x 2.36 in. x .43 in., according to RIM's spec sheets. The 9350 and 9360 each have 512 MB of internal memory, while the 9370 has 1 GB.

In terms of differences in networks that each model serves, the 9350 is intended for CDMA/EVDO Rev. A networks, while the 9360 is intended for GSM and HSPA networks. The 9370 functions in both GSM and CDMA networks, with four radio bands for GSM and two for CDMA.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

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