The rumors of a slider BlackBerry smartphone started rolling out a couple of days ago as Andrew wrote and now my buddy Kevin Michaluk is all over the rumors on CrackBerry.com. BBLeaks posted several more photos of the BlackBerry Slider and it is definitely a real device. The thing we don't know yet is if the device is just some prototype that leaked out or if it is a real upcoming RIM BlackBerry device.
I found the BlackBerry Storm2 to be a MUCH better device than the first BlackBerry, but I don't think I could ever get over having a BlackBerry without a physical QWERTY keyboard. If this device is indeed real, then it could bring us the best of both worlds with a large display and a good hardware QWERTY keyboard. The first device that I thought of when I saw these new higher resolution photos was the T-Mobile MDA III (check out my 2005 Geek.com review) because the shape and form factor is very similar to this BB Slider.
Andrew wrote that he didn't see the value proposition in a device with this form factor, but personally I find this much more appealing than the Storm series. We could get the best of a large screen BlackBerry smartphone so that photos, movies, ebooks, and surfing would be more enjoyable while still having a readily accessible QWERTY keyboard when we wanted to focus on messaging. I used to love having a QWERTY always available for usage, but over the last year or two I have moved onto devices with larger displays and hidden keyboards that give me a keyboard just when I need it and that works well for me. You get a better media and reading (consumption) experience with a larger display and if you can get a large display and still have a physical QWERTY keyboard for heavy messaging times then that definitely has appeal to me.
Do you see the value in a BlackBerry form factor like this?