BlackBerry Curve, Colt Bring New OS, Features to Market

We have seen the Blackberry Playbook launch based on QNX OS, and while we have heard many times that we are also going to see some smartphones arrive with QNX, the details have been rather sparse up until now.  Research In Motion will be launching a new Blackberry handset with QNX OS support, and this new smartphone is code-named the Blackberry Colt.  It’s expected to be available on the international scene by the first quarter of 2012.

RIM also announced the availability of the new, refreshed BlackBerry Curve, which sports a thin, 0.43-inch frame and BlackBerry 7 functionality under the hood, as well as a new CDMA/GSM world-phone BlackBerry Bold 9930, a GSM BlackBerry Bold 9900, an updated BlackBerry Torch for AT&T, and the new BlackBerry Torch 9850.

RIM is hoping to have more luck with its Blackberry line this time around. According to Boy Genius Report, the Blackberry Colt will feature a 1-gigahertz processor, slower than the dual core processors RIM executives previously said were likely to be found in the next generation smartphones, and rather behind the capabilities of other smartphones currently hitting the market.

The Curve is RIM’s more general market smartphone, geared at competing with Apple’s iOS and Android rather than the business markets that its siblings go for.  With a market that is still quite competitive, these new flavors can only help RIM’s outlook as it diversifies devices around a fragmenting smartphone market.

However, BlackBerry OS shares fell to 11 percent, as Windows Phone 7, Windows Mobile, and webOS held steady at less than five percent of the market each according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company.  The smartphone market also experienced a 3 percent fall overall, dropping from 15 percent to 12 percent.  Comparing the same quarters for Android’s handset market for Motorola in particular, their shares have halved from 44 percent from last year to 22 percent this year, while Samsung and LG marked a rise here.

“Much as it did in the feature phone market in the RAZR era, Motorola is experiencing increased competition from Samsung Electronics and LG in the smartphone market,” NPD’s Ross Rubin observes. “Closer ties to the heart of Android can help inspire new paths to differentiation.”

Moreover, on Monday, RIM announced its BlackBerry Smart Card Reader had received Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) certification from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), earning a key stamp of approval that allows the technology to be used by federal government employees in the U.S.

“Our customers value the robust security provided with BlackBerry products and services and smart card readers are particularly important within the government sector,” Scott Totzke, senior vice-president of BlackBerry Security, said in a statement Monday.

The BlackBerry Smart Card Reader is designed to work with personal identification cards issued by government organizations or other high-security organizations.  Users insert a smart card into this lightweight reader and wear it on a lanyard as a two-factor authentication device for secure access to BlackBerry smartphones, desktop computers and facilities. BlackBerry smartphones and desktop computers automatically lock when the user’s smart card is not in proximity.