/>
X

Join or Sign In

Register for your free ZDNet membership or if you are already a member, sign in using your preferred method below.

Use your email Use Linkedin Use Facebook

BlackBerry Curve 9360 rounds the bend

A hands-on look at the Curve 9360, a slimline, BlackBerry 7-powered addition to RIM's non-touchscreen handset that places near-field comms and social-networking alongside business features

|
ben-woods.jpg
|
Topic: Mobility
blackberry-curve-9360-woods-2.jpg
1 of 5 Ben Woods

BlackBerry Curve 9360 front

Canadian smartphone maker Research In Motion has made a slimline addition to its Curve series of handsets, powered by its recently released BlackBerry 7 OS.

The mid-range handset, introduced on Tuesday, comes in three models with connectivity for different regions. The Curve 9360 is set for launch in the UK in September, while the 9350 and 9370 will appear in other markets within the same time frame.

The phones all have the curved mini-Qwerty keypad that marks them out from higher-end RIM handsets such as the Bold. As with earlier Curve models, they are aimed at people looking to progress from a feature phone onto their first fully-fledged smartphone, according to RIM.

"The new BlackBerry Curve smartphones... offer a significant performance upgrade with [a] mobile social experience for the millions of feature phone users in the market, as well as [for] our existing Curve customers," Mike Lazaridis, co-chief executive of RIM, said in a statement.

The 9360 handset is RIM's slimmest smartphone to date, measuring just 11mm thick. It comes with a 2.4-inch non-touch display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and HSPA connectivity, GPS and a 800MHz processor. It has 512MB of storage on board, with support for microSD cards up to 32GB.

blackberry-curve-9360-side-woods.jpg
2 of 5 Ben Woods

BlackBerry Curve 9360 side

All the new Curves run on the BlackBerry 7 operating system, which made its handset debut on the Bold 9900, Torch 9850 and Torch 9810.

The OS provides support for near-field communications (NFC) technology. This means the smartphone can be used with a NFC reader to make contactless mobile payments, for example, or to act as a secure entry card for a building.

The inclusion of NFC in a mid-range handset such as the 9360 could prove an "alluring package for those who find price as important as cutting-edge features", Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch, said in a statement.

blackberry-curve-9360-hand-woods.jpg
3 of 5 Ben Woods

BlackBerry Curve 9360 hand

Along with the BlackBerry 7 OS, the 9360 comes pre-loaded with a number of apps. These include the premium version of Documents To Go, BlackBerry Protect and BlackBerry Balance, for people who use the phone for work. It also has the recently updated BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instant-messaging client, which comes with social-networking features.

"BlackBerry phones have made the transition from the boardroom to the classroom in recent years, with a younger generation of customers attracted to social features like the BlackBerry Messenger service," Doku said. "Integrating Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook into BBM sends a clear message that RIM are flying ahead of the pack when it comes to making social media more accessible."

BlackBerry 7 also brings an updated version of the BlackBerry WebKit browser, which RIM said brings a "significantly faster, more fluid browsing experience" to the Curve range. However, unlike the browser on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, it does not support Flash content.

"Right now, we're focused on HTML 5," a RIM spokesman told ZDNet UK. "If you look at what you'd access from a Flash perspective on a screen like this, things like YouTube, that side is fully supporting HTML 5 and is able to run videos independent of Flash on mobilised sites. For the PlayBook, you get Flash because it's a larger display."

blackberry-curve-9360-back-woods.jpg
4 of 5 Ben Woods

BlackBerry Curve 9360 back

The curved rear of the device houses a five-megapixel flash-enabled camera, which is also capable of capturing VGA-quality video.

During a launch event in London, RIM executives focused heavily on the design of the handset, talking about its "soft-touch paint finish" and how the frame "adds to the design language but also gives integrity and strength".

In a departure from its predecessors, this Curve moves the headphone socket from the side to the top of the phone, making it easier to access when in a pocket.

blackberry-curve-9360-pair-woods.jpg
5 of 5 Ben Woods

BlackBerry Curve 9360 pair

The Curve 9360 will launch first in Canada, arriving sometime in August. It will then head to the UK in September, RIM said. Pricing and precise release timings were not disclosed, though Three and Vodafone have already announced they will stock the device once it arrives.

"If these phones are pitched at the right cost by the networks, BlackBerry could well have a strong line-up against Android and the iPhone this winter," Doku predicted.


Get the latest technology news and analysis, blogs and reviews delivered directly to your inbox with ZDNet UK's newsletters.


Related Galleries

Incipio Grip and Kate Spade cases for Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Fold 3: Stylish drop protection
incipio-z-fold-3-flip-3-2.jpg

Related Galleries

Incipio Grip and Kate Spade cases for Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Fold 3: Stylish drop protection

ZAGG Gear4 Bridgetown case for Samsung Z Fold 3 and Flip 3: D3O drop protection
zagg-gear4-case-z-fold3-flip3-2.jpg

Related Galleries

ZAGG Gear4 Bridgetown case for Samsung Z Fold 3 and Flip 3: D3O drop protection

First look: iPhone 13 Apple event [in pictures]
california-streaming-2.jpg

Related Galleries

First look: iPhone 13 Apple event [in pictures]

First Look: Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 3 [pictures]
01-001ef-gf711t-001-front-navy-210719-h.jpg

Related Galleries

First Look: Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 3 [pictures]

Working with the Cat S62 Pro and its thermal imaging camera
cat-s62-pro-flir-use-12.jpg

Related Galleries

Working with the Cat S62 Pro and its thermal imaging camera

Google Pixel Buds A Series review: in pictures
google-pixel-budsa-9.jpg

Related Galleries

Google Pixel Buds A Series review: in pictures

Nomad Rugged Leather Moment case: MagSafe, 10-foot protection, and advanced lens support
nomad-moment-iphone-12pm-1.jpg

Related Galleries

Nomad Rugged Leather Moment case: MagSafe, 10-foot protection, and advanced lens support