BlackBerry Curve 9300 Expected on T-Mobile in Sept; CDMA Version to Follow
T-Mobile is expected to release a new BlackBerry in September, and that mystery device will likely be the brand new Curve 9300.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
The brand new BlackBerry Curve 9300 hasn’t even been announced by BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM), yet images and near-full technical specifications have been available online for weeks now.
Though it’s unclear exactly when RIM and one of its carrier partners will decide to make the device official, a leaked T-Mobile 2010 handset roadmap suggests the U.S. carrier will release 16 new handsets in the second half of this year, including a new BlackBerry smartphone in September. The leaked information does not specify which BlackBerry is expected this fall, but early images of a T-Mobile-branded BlackBerry Curve 9300 suggest that mystery handheld could be the new, revamped Curve.
The Curve 9300, which is nearly identical to the older 85xx series BlackBerrys, differs on the outside in that it sports a slightly different battery door and silver/chrome-colored bezel. On the inside, the new Curve is thought to have more application memory (512MB up from 256MB) and support for GSM/UMTS 3G cellular frequencies—including T-Mobile 3G. And it could also follow in the new 3G BlackBerry Pearl 9100’s “footsteps” with 802.11n Wi-Fi support, according to reports. (802.11n should make for faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connectivity.)
The 9300 will also presumably pack GPS—the Curve 8520 does not have GPS, but the CDMA Curve 8530 does. (Read more about the Curve 9300 here.)
It’s possible the BlackBerry listed for T-Mobile release in the fall is not the Curve 9300; BlackBerry enthusiasts are also waiting for a U.S. carrier to announce the new 3G BlackBerry Pearl 9100. However, rumors suggest T-Mobile may not release the Pearl 9100 at all, and no T-Mobile branded Pearl 9100 has been spotted yet—at least not that I know of.
The fact that T-Mobile-branded Curve 9300 devices are popping up means the smartphone can’t be too far from release. The leaked T-Mobile roadmap info could also simply be missing another new BlackBerry, but even so, the presence of branded BlackBerry 9300s online, and the lack of any T-Mobile 9100 sightings, suggest the Curve would be first to market. And recent FCC filings also detail a CDMA variant of the Curve 9300, presumably the BlackBerry 9330, which means Verizon and/or Sprint should be getting the new Curve in the coming months, as well.
Obviously, pricing details are not yet available, but the low-end Curve 9300 should retail for right around $100 on T-Mobile with a new two-year service contract.
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Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.