Is this slider smartphone the next BlackBerry?

If the next smartphone from Research in Motion was a slider BlackBerry, would you buy it?

If the next smartphone from Research in Motion was a slider BlackBerry, would you buy it?

If the tipsters at Boy Genius Report are to believed, that may be what's coming down the pike from the Canadian mobile giant.

A few photos of handsets -- one that looks like a Storm, the other like a Bold -- show a device with a sliding vertical keyboard, much like a Palm Pre.

Here's what they say:

  • It will run BlackBerry OS 6.0
  • It will support Wi-Fi 802.11n
  • Display resolution is 360×480
  • It will be a GSM/HSPA device

BGR is calling it the Storm3, but I doubt RIM would use its virtual keyboard-only moniker for this.

Nevertheless, these rumored devices don't yet make sense to me, from both a product portfolio standpoint and a competitive one.

While I see the advantage of having a sliding keyboard -- to enlarge the display to better compete with other touchscreen smartphones, but preserve the company's signature keyboard -- I'm not sure I understand the need for new hardware.

The Storm is a fine handset hobbled by an aging OS, and unless RIM has revamped software in the pipeline, I'm not sure I see the value proposition.

After all, if RIM couldn't convince users with the Storm proper, how could it with this?