Research In Motion today announced three new BlackBerry Curve smartphones that run the latest version of the company's mobile operating system, BlackBerry 7, which offers a faster Web browsing experience.
The BlackBerry Curve 9350, the Curve 9360 and the Curve 9370 should be available in Canada this month and in other countries in September, said Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, without saying anything about pricing or naming the carriers that would sell the phones.
All three phones share the same look; the biggest difference is that they have different internal radios for different wireless networks used around the globe. All three have 2.44-in. screens (featuring 480-by-360 pixel resolution) and traditional BlackBerry physical qwerty keyboards.
All three also offer GPS and Wi-Fi, and they're all equipped with 5-megapixel still and video cameras with flash, and they have MicroSD card slots that support up to 32GB memory cards.
RIM described the devices as ideal for people who want to upgrade from a feature phone to a smartphone or from an older Curve to an "affordable, socially connected smartphone experience."
While analysts have noted that the BlackBerry 7 operating system is a marked improvement over previous versions, mainly because of 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 device.
RIM announced two BlackBerry Bold smartphones, the 9900 and 9930, in May, each running BlackBerry 7.
BlackBerry 7 also offers voice-activated universal searching and is preloaded with Documents To Go and BlackBerry Messenger.
All three of the new Curves measure 4.3 in. by 2.36 in. by 0.43 in., according to RIM's spec sheets. The 9350 and 9360 each have 512MB of internal memory, while the 9370 has 1GB.
As for the 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 email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.