by Al Sacco

RIM: BlackBerry “Atomic” Trackball Rumors Untrue

Jan 16, 20093 mins
Data Center

A few months ago, shortly after images of a then-unidentified BlackBerry device with a darkly-colored trackball surfaced on the Web, a nasty rumor began circulating that suggested the trackball was not only a new color, but that it had also been modified and enhanced to better repel dirt, dust and other debris from the insides of handhelds. This black “atomic” trackball also supposedly made navigating the new device “silky smooth.” So why’s that so nasty, you ask? Well, because this trackball tale just isn’t true.

RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900
RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 with Black Trackball

We now know that the mystery device, then code-named the Javelin, is the BlackBerry Curve 8900—a device currently available in a number of global locales, including Germany and Canada, and expected to become widely available in the United States next month.

When the Curve 8900 was initially released, early adopters reported that though the new trackball was indeed a dark color, it didn’t appear to be much different than its lightly-shaded predecessors. Some posited that the atomic trackball wasn’t currently present, but that it would be coming in subsequent releases of the device; others simply noted that the new trackball felt “tighter.”

Until now, little else could be confirmed about the new trackball.

image of replacement black trackball for T-Mobile G1 and BlackBerry
Black Trackball from

Today I’m telling you that there is no such thing as an atomic trackball for any BlackBerry—not yet at least. In fact, the trackball in the Curve 8900 is exactly the same as earlier trackballs, except for its color. (New reports suggest the black trackball is also the same as the one found in the popular Android-powered T-Mobile G1.) And you don’t have to take it from me; Tenille Kennedy, a RIM public relations representative, told me this at RIM’s booth at CES 2009 in Las Vegas last week.

“If there were such a thing, I think we’d be promoting it,” Kennedy said.

And she’s absolutely right. If RIM had come up with some new and improved trackball design, you can bet pennies to Pearls that each and every advertisement for the new Curve would mention something about the new innovation—and those ads would very likely somewhere include the word “revolutionary.” (New components for housing the trackball could help to explain why some early reviewers noted that the Curve’s trackball felt different than those on other BlackBerry devices.)

While an atomic trackball remains fictional, RIM gave users plenty of other reasons to check out the new Curve 8900. Read “Curve 8900 (T-Mobile): How to Know if the New Curve is for You” for more of them.

Oh yeah, you can also pick up a black trackball of your own that will supposedly work with any existing trackball-based BlackBerry for just $9.99 from


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