by Al Sacco

BlackBerry Slider, aka “Mr. T,” aka “Talladega,” to Launch in April? Don’t Hold Your Breath…

Mar 18, 2010
MobileSmall and Medium Business

A new rumor suggests the BlackBerry slider could become available in April. But's Al Sacco thinks that's highly unlikely

If you pay even the least bit of attention to mobile/gadget blogs, you’re probably aware of Research In Motion’s (RIM) upcoming BlackBerry slider smartphone, thought to be codenamed “Mr. T” a.k.a. BlackBerry “Talladega,” which has been pictured, spec’d and otherwise hypothesized about numerous times in the past month or so—though it hasn’t even been acknowledged by the BlackBerry-maker.

purported image of RIM's BlackBerry Slider
Is This Device RIM’s New BlackBerry Slider?

Today, a new rumor regarding the much-anticipated BlackBerry with an entirely new form factor—at least for a RIM device—has surfaced, and it suggests the gadget may become available sooner than later. In fact, according to the CEO of a mobile-phone- and BlackBerry-parts-supplier, this new BlackBerry will launch next month, in April 2010, Engadget reports.

The Woojeon and Handan CEO apparently told Korean news-site that his company will be supplying parts for the BlackBerry slider and that the device will launch in April. And even Reuters reported on the news, though it wisely left out any mention of a launch-timeframe.

From Engadget’s translation of the post:

“The Canadian company RIM famous for BlackBerry smartphones is releasing a new model next month. Known as the ‘T,’ The new model is an ambitious product aimed at competing against iPhone’s storm of success. Rim will present it (‘T’) as its flagship model to compete in global markets such as the U.S. and Europe.”

Sounds rather exciting, huh?

Well, sure…until you consider the fact that such a launch is highly unlikely, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, the BlackBerry Slider launch is going to be very important for RIM, and it can’t afford another mishap similar to its BlackBerry Storm launch in late 2008. That means the company will (hopefully) take its time prepping the device, which has been in the works for a while…but probably not as long as a few other BlackBerry devices we know about, yet RIM has not announced.

Also, RIM will likely launch the device at/around a major wireless trade show, and even though both CTIA and RIM’s own Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) are right around the corner, I think the BlackBerry-maker is more likely to announce its new BlackBerry Pearl 9100 and/or the BlackBerry Bold 9650, the BlackBerry Tour 9630 successor, before the new BlackBerry slider.

Both the Pearl 9100 and the Bold 9650 have been on my radar for significantly longer than the slider. And though that doesn’t necessary mean much, it does suggest that RIM’s had more time to work on these specific handhelds. And both of them are really just “updates” to existing RIM devices, while the BlackBerry slider is a whole new beast.

It also seems likely that RIM will space out its new-device launches, as well, since it really doesn’t make sense to steal one launch’s thunder with another new BlackBerry. I could see RIM launching the new BlackBerry Pearl at CTIA and the Bold 9650 at WES, or vice-versa. But I really don’t see the BlackBerry slider coming before either of these handhelds. And, like I previously mentioned, RIM will probably want to distance the slider’s launch from the introduction of these additional new BlackBerrys–especially since it will presumably be offered by at least a few of the same wireless carriers who’ll sell the new Pearl and/or CDMA Bold.

So, while it’s not unheard of for parts-suppliers to “out” new BlackBerrys, and it might be nice to imagine the BlackBerry slider, a.k.a “Mr. T,” a.k.a, “BlackBerry Talladega,” touching down next month, this blogger just doesn’t think that will be the reality.