Research in Motion today introduced the latest in the BlackBerry Curve series -- the 9350, the 9360 and the 9370.
The entry level phones will be BlackBerry OS 7 powered, and feature NFC technology -- allowing users to make mobile payments through their smartphone.
Also included is 512MB internal storage for the 9350 and the 9360, while the 9370 will have 1GB.
The 9370 is a dual-mode phone, running GSM/CDMA -- and will be more focused towards those who travel abroad.
Available in Canada later this month, the new phones will be widely available throughout North America and Europe in September.
Interestingly, unlike other BlackBerrys, Documents to Go Premium -- the document editing software for the device -- will be thrown in for free, meaning students can edit documents on the go.
The BlackBerry Curve is one of the favourite smartphones amongst students, past and present, offering a cheap phone with all of the apparel of the BlackBerry brand.
Set to be sold in the price range of £200 ($330), contracts could cost between £25 and £30 ($41) a month -- still focused on the emerging developed market of younger people, and business folk alike.
It was only a couple of weeks ago where I urged students not to think twice about a BlackBerry for the back to school season.
Having said that, and while I still believe students should opt for something either they can afford or invest in for productivity and equally entertainment -- the release of more phones shows Research in Motion may not be in as much trouble as we all think it is.
Or, of course, maybe it is, and is still throwing whatever it can out into the market to maintain a brave face.
What is clear after many conversations with Research in Motion, is that though the business market for its BlackBerry brand is crucial to maintain, students and younger people are a crucial focal point for the company.
BlackBerry enterprise email -- the secure messaging component to BlackBerrys phones -- is not going away any time soon. It is merely a businessfocused addition to the already established BlackBerry brand.
However, provided the BlackBerry brand can continue to maintain at least the student market, it can hold back from the inevitable downfall the company seems to be heading towards.
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- CNET: RIM debuts new BlackBerry Curve