BlackBerry Bold slider with BlackBerry 6 OS set for mid-year launch

BlackBerry manufacturer RIM isn’t letting up the pace with this month’s launch of the Pearl 9100 3G smartphone expected to be swiftly followed by an all-new form factor.

The Bold 9800 will be the first BlackBerry ‘slider’ with the conventional QWERTY keyboard of the Bold series tucked away under a touchscreen based on that of the Storm 2. The display also sports the optical trackpad which has recently replaced the ‘pearl’ trackball as RIM’s navigation control de jour.

The Bold 9800 is also expected to be the hero product for the new BlackBerry 6 operating system which will include a new Webkit-based browser with tabbed pages RIM’s own Twitter client an RSS feed viewer and an integrated app for managing social networks along with a cleaner and more modern UI sporting multiple finger-friendly ‘pages’ on the home screen.

US site Boy Genius Report cites several sources inside RIM which say the Bold 9800 will launch in the US in June under an exclusivity agreement with AT&T on that carrier’s 850MHz 3G network.

RIM Australia has traditionally been very fast – delightfully and impressively so – to locally roll out new BlackBerry models so we’re hoping this track record continues with the Bold 9800.

It will also be interesting to see if RIM follows the US lead and assigns launch exclusivity to one of our 3G carriers (and if so we’re tipping Telstra to be in the box seat).