Dan Jones of the wireless news site Unstrung, has been told by clued-in analyst Carmi Levy that she expects a BlackBerry 9000 series with iPhone-like touchscreen functionality to be released in the first quarter of 2008.
Levy takes this as an indication that BlackBerry is diverging even more significantly from its once top-down, enterprise-specific roots.
"The 9000 is supposed to be a touch-screen device, very similar in form factor to the iPhone," Levy tells Jones. "Which means that it is not an enterprise-friendly device."
"The 9000 series will break from the traditional half-screen, half-keyboard look of the BlackBerry," Jones writes. The handsets will also incorporate an upgraded multimedia system, along with the standard push email capabilities. Better MP3 and video capabilities are crucial if RIM is to take on Apple, Google, and others."
Jones also cites Levy as saying that a BlackBerry Curve with WiFi, a higher-res camera, and GPS location tracking will also be released in the same general time frame.