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Friday, 30 May 2008 07:09

BlackBerry KickStart is close to ready

Written by David Stellmack

Image

First clamshell phone from RIM

The mystery surrounding the RIM clamshell phone known as the BlackBerry KickStart, or the 9100, is inching ever closer to release. Our sources have been able to start filling in some more of the specifics about this device.

While it is difficult to really get a feel for the size of the KickStart, it is obvious that RIM has been doing its homework to produce a clamshell phone that is something that might be best described as a cross between the Blackberry Pearl and the Motorola Razr.

At first, many of us thought that the concept was strange, but once you really start looking at it, then it is obvious that it is something different for the BlackBerry family. The KickStart (or 9100, if you prefer) will be a quad-band GSM/GPRS/Edge device and will also offer 802.11 B/G wireless access as well.

It will use a next generation version of SureType for data input. It will offer 16-bit color LCDs for both the inner and outer display. The internal display will offer a resolution of 320x240, while the external display will offer a resolution of 160x128.

The 9100 is currently running Version 4.6 of the BlackBerry OS from what we are hearing, but it still is targeted to ship with version 5.0 of the BlackBerry OS; but if 5.0 isn’t ready it might initially ship with an enhanced or slightly updated version of 4.6. Obviously, upgrades to 5.0 would be possible if the phone does ship with 4.6.

The screen has a border that gives off a color glow and when the display is off you see a slick black face. The 9100 is anodized and will be offered in a variety of colors at launch. The back battery cover will offer either a rubberized soft-touch finish or maybe a low gloss slick finish; this is yet to be decided.

According to what we have been hearing, RIM will be making the 9100 for T-Mobile exclusively first in the U.S., with a release in the September time frame. It is unknown what deals they may have for the 9100 outside the U.S. at this time.

With the 9100 RIM will break new ground with a phone that is targeted to be attractive to those who don’t like the “candy bar” form factor and prefer the clamshell design that was made popular by the Motorola Razr. It will be interesting to see how it will fare with consumers, as it does offer a hip design that is a departure from a typical BlackBerry.

The selection of T-Mobile as the first carrier to get the phone in the U.S. is a bit strange, given the very strong and aggressive sales relationship that RIM has had with AT&T in the U.S. Still, we do expect the 9100 to make its way to AT&T at some point down the road.

While some cell phone manufacturers seem to be very afraid of the increasing popularity of the iPhone, RIM on the other hand, seems to be unfazed and is firing on all cylinders with some very interesting future releases.

Last modified on Friday, 30 May 2008 07:20

David Stellmack

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