Not that we needed the WSJ to confirm what we already expect to happen, but the granddaddy of the nation's business papers has come out with a story that RIM is testing a touchscreen BlackBerry with a portrait sliding physical QWERTY keyboard. The device, which we know as the BlackBerry Bold 9800, is expected to have a universal search bar, customizable home pages and a virtual landscape QWERTY keyboard. The device will run on the brand new BlackBerry OS 6.0 and feature RIM's new WebKit browser. Nothing that we haven't told you before, but according to the paper, RIM has said it plans on launching a phone with OS 6.0 and the WebKit browser before the end of the third quarter. Assuming that RIM is referring to the 9800, that means we should see this beast launch before September 30th. As we reported, a picture of the phone shows the AT&T boot up screen logo which hints at a release for the nation's second largest carrier. In the same article, the WSJ says that RIM is testing a BlackBerry tablet that will connect to the internet via 3G and be ready for launch at the end of the year. RIM has seen its share of the North American smartphone market drop to 38% from 54% from March 2009 to March 2010. Apple's share in the same period has risen from 18% to 23%. The combination of iPhone and Android has put pressure on RIM to make the BlackBerry a better browsing device with a smoother UI, a responsive touchscreen and more apps. From what we have seen of the device, it could be "Mission Accomplished" for the manufacturer who has finally put together a phone worth drooling over.
RIM BlackBerry Bold 9800 Specifications