BlackBerry on Monday lifted the lid on the latest Qwerty-equipped handset in the Curve range and confirmed that the mid-range smartphone will get an upgrade to the BlackBerry 6 mobile operating system.
The 9300, otherwise known as the Curve 3G, has now been confirmed for UK release in August, following the device's unofficial debut last week in Canada on the Rogers network. However, the precise release date, official UK pricing and carrier support are yet to be announced.
The handset measures 109 by 60 by 13.99mm and weighs 104g.
The Curve 3G includes BlackBerry's trademark Qwerty keyboard, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G connectivity, Bluetooth 2.1 and microSD card support up to 32GB. The handset also uses a standard 3.5mm socket for connecting headphones and maintains the same optical trackpad to aid navigation as the Curve 8520.
Under the bonnet, the Curve 3G will ship running the BlackBerry 5 operating system. However, RIM has confirmed that the 9300 will be upgradeable to BlackBerry 6 in the future. The company declined to reveal precisely when the OS upgrade will be available, saying that it will be available "in the coming months."
BlackBerry 6 OS offers an overhaul of version 5 and includes a redesigned home screen, new contextual on-screen menus and a significantly improved browser. The new OS will make its debut in the BlackBerry Torch 9800, which was announced last Tuesday.
Taking inspiration from its predecessor in more than just its appearance, the Curve 3G maintains the same fixed-focus 2-megapixel camera and backlit Qwerty keyboard.
RIM says that the battery in the Curve 3G will last for 19 days on standby, 29 hours of music playback or 4.5 hours of talk time.
The Curve 3G also has dedicated multimedia buttons for quicker access to music functions and will arrive packing the usual BlackBerry email, maps and messenger options.
Recently, the UAE, Lebanon, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have expressed concerns over some of BlackBerry's services, more specifically, the encryption of services like BlackBerry Messenger and email.
According to reports, Saudi Arabia postponed the blocking of BlackBerry's messenger service, due to be imposed last Friday, while it works with the company to find measures that avoid blocking functionality.