Touchscreen Blackberry on the horizon

Blackberry maker Research in Motion today announced strong quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street expectations and more than doubled revenue from the year ago quarter. The results shot RIM stock up more than ten percent in after-hours trading. RIM shipped over 3.9 million devices and added 1.65 million new BlackBerry subscribers for a total of 12 million subscribers worldwide.

More importantly for RIM however was the uptake of consumers and small business customers who chose a BlackBerry over other smartphones. According to Jim Balsillie RIMs co-CEO ‘about 34% of BlackBerry subscribers in the quarter were consumers and small businesses’ and RIM signed up a record number of new subscribers during the Thanksgiving holiday a traditionally sluggish time for BlackBerry sales.

The RIM result comes as anticipation mounts for the next BlackBerry model nicknamed the 9000 series. According to a report here the 9000 series has been confirmed to have a 480 x 320 screen quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and will feature WiFi capabilities. The device will also feature a full QWERTY keyboard and may or may not feature a touch-screen. The 9000 series will feature the same OS as the current Pearl and Curve but will launch with version 4.3.2. It will not however be HSDPA or even 3G capable.

Is this the new BlackBerry 9000? (photo:

If you can’t wait for the 9000 series BlackBerry check out the recently released Pearl 8120. It’s got built-in WiFi media player a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and provides BlackBerry email in a small package. In my testing the interface improvements over the original Pearl 8100 make a significant difference and the the on-screen font rendering finally gives the Pearl a more graphically rich UI feel.