Here's one for the head-scratching category. Today RIM and T-Mobile announced that the "new" BlackBerry Curve 9315 running BB 7.1 will be available for pre-order on 1/16. Not only does this news come just a few weeks before the release of the new BlackBerry 10 OS, but this Curve will offer 3G connectivity, not 4G.
The handset will sport the traditional BB-style QWERTY keyboard, a 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash, FM radio and Wi-Fi. It will come with Facebook and Twitter apps preloaded, as well as a dedicated key for BlackBerry Messenger. This "modern" smartphone will cost $49.99 after a $50 rebate, assuming you sign a two-year contract that will have you using a device with 2009-era specs in 2015.
We're still expecting RIM to take the wraps off its long-anticipated BlackBerry 10 smartphones by January 30th. Richard Piasentin, managing director for the U.S. at Research In Motion seemed to indicate this handset would target first-time smartphone owners, saying “The Curve 9315 is designed to make it incredibly easy to stay connected with friends, family and coworkers and will be popular with customers upgrading to a smartphone for the first time, as well as existing Curve customers looking for a step up in speed and functionality.”
BB10 will reportedly offer a fresh interface that emphasizes gestures and multitasking, a completely revamped touch keyboard and a supercharged browser. However, pictures that reportedly leaked on 12/24 seem to point to a QWERTY option as well. When we went hands-on with the new OS, we found the Flow interface to be fun to use and its Time Shift camera app a blast.