by Al Sacco

RIM BlackBerry “Magnum” with Touch Screen AND Physical QWERTY Coming in ’09?

Oct 17, 20083 mins
Data Center

BlackBerry Magnum

The same blog that last year accurately predicted Research In Motion (RIM) would unveil a touch screen BlackBerry in 2008 is now reporting that the Canadian company has another potentially ground-breaking smartphone up its sleeve: a BlackBerry Bold/Curve/Storm hybrid with both a touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard, dubbed the “Magnum.” Take that iPhone!

Yeah, you read that correctly. According to, RIM’s working on a device with both a touch screen like the Storm’s and a full QWERTY keyboard akin to the one found on the Bold 9000. This upcoming smartphone is expected to be unveiled next spring.

Image of the rumored BlackBerry Magnum with both touch screen and full QWERTY physical keyboard

I don’t often cover “rumors” in this blog—and for good reason—but, or BGR, has a purty darn impressive track record when it comes to breaking BlackBerry-related news well before the folks in Waterloo give the okay. I’ve been frequenting the BGR site for more than a year now, and though its scoops aren’t always dead on—BGR originally reported that the touch screen BlackBerry would be GSM and have Wi-Fi, for instance–the Boy Genius and his various underlings know their stuff when it comes to RIM and BlackBerrys.

That’s why I decided this “news” is fit to share. That and the fact that it only makes sense for RIM to develop a device that utilizes all of the best—and most popular—features of its existing smartphones…an uber ‘Berry, if you will.

Though the BGR report predicts a Bold/Curve/Storm hybrid in 2009, it doesn’t mention any specific title for the device. The codename Magnum comes from a related post.

A BlackBerry with both a touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard represents the equivalent of the Holy Grail to BlackBerry fanatics like me. Such a device certainly wouldn’t be the first smartphone with a touch screen and full keyboard—Palm’s Treo devices have had both for years—but it would be the first BlackBerry with such a form factor.

BGR says the device will be unveiled this May at RIM’s Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES), along with a U.S., HSDPA version of the Storm 95xx, but no details on expected release dates are available quite yet. RIM unveiled the BlackBerry Bold at WES 2008, and though it’s still not yet available in the United States, it was originally expected to hit American retail stores in the summer before software glitches and other issues marred that schedule. Assuming RIM can get its act together and avoid any similar launch fiascos, a summer/fall 2009 release date for the Magnum sounds reasonable.

For years, I’ve seen requests/wishes/demands on various BlackBerry forums and message boards regarding a Treo-like BlackBerry with both a touch display and full QWERTY—mainly from former Treo users gone BlackBerry—but until this morning, all that was the stuff of dreams. Next year, those dreams just may become reality…


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