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New BlackBerry BBX phones will look like the PlayBook, report says

Mike Lazaridis, president and Co-CEO of Research in Motion, speaks about the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, during BlackBerry's DevCon in San Francisco on Oct. 18. Credit: Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

Research In Motion's upcoming line of smartphones, which will run the company's in-development BBX operating system, won't look like the BlackBerry Bold smartphone, but more so like the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, according to a new report.

However, while the new form factors will go with touch screens instead of full physical keyboards, RIM's top BlackBerry features will remain in place, such as the "core enterprise email features" that have made BlackBerry phones a favorite among corporate IT departments looking for smartphones for their employees, according to a report from PCMac.com.

The new BBX phones, which RIM has said will arrive sometime early next year, will "have the same screen resolution and aspect ratio as the BlackBerry PlayBook, which has a 16:9 ratio and 1024-by-600 screen," PCMag.com said in an article about an interview with Alec Saunders, RIM's vice president of developer relations and ecosystem development.

"Look, if you build [an app] for the PlayBook, then it will run on BBX," Saunders told PCMac.com. "We have maintained aspect ratios, BBX also has the ability to upload multiple dimension graphics … [and the standard resolutions] are the same as PlayBook."

The PlayBook is RIM's 7-inch tablet, which hit stores back in April at a price of $500. The PlayBook so far hasn't been much of a hit for RIM, with low sales, still no 3G or 4G versions of the tablet on the market and multiple software delays and lost features for its PlayBook OS software. Eventually, the PlayBook will be moved over to BBX in-line with the BBX phones.

To date, the PlayBook still lacks many features expected of tablets in general, such as a native email client, and the device is still short on apps when compared with Apple's iPad or tablets running Google's Android operating system.

Saunders told PCMag.com that BBX phones will have all the same features of the PlayBook once they launch.

"I think you're seeing an evolution of a platform … you should not expect [BBX] to be behind the PlayBook," he said in the report.

As of now, the PlayBook is behind RIM's current BlackBerry phones and much of the tablet industry as well. But, a native email app and more apps in general are said to arrive to the PlayBook in February, when the RIM tablet is said to get upgraded to the new PlayBook OS 2.0 software, which will also enable the slate to run Android apps.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Mike Lazaridis, president and co-chief executive officer of Research in Motion, speaks about the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet at BlackBerry's DevCon in San Francisco on Oct. 18. Credit: Beck Diefenbach / Reuters

 
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