BlackBerry 9800 an AT&T exclusive, to clash with iPhone?

Posted on May 14, 2010

The BlackBerry 9800 will go head-to-head with the iPhone next month in what could be a first for the rivalry, a leak from within RIM claims. AT&T should not only carry the touchscreen slider in mid-to-late June but is placing an unusually large order for a number “easily exceeding” 1 million units. It’s not known by BGR how these numbers would be distributed, but this would presumably be spread over weeks and possibly months.

The phone would be an AT&T exclusive in the US but, at least in its basic form, wouldn’t have that exclusive for the rest of the year. A Sprint version adapted to CDMA would ship in the fall.

Sometimes known by its Talladega codename, the 9800 would be the first BlackBerry to include both a touchscreen and a hardware QWERTY keyboard but would in many ways be a merger of the Bold 9700 and the Storm2. It should have the former’s trackpad and other physical controls but the latter’s 480×360 touchscreen, and only a few changes. It may drop the click-down SurePress touchscreen and would have both 802.11n Wi-Fi as well as a 5-megapixel camera. BlackBerry OS 6.0 should also make its formal debut with a more modern, touch-aware interface.

A major June launch would be a first for any BlackBerry since the iPhone shipped in 2007 and would signal either a determination by RIM to avoid being upstaged or else an attempt by AT&T to reduce its dependence on Apple in the event of a Verizon iPhone. Rumors have persisted, but never been directly confirmed, that the original BlackBerry Bold was delayed to avoid the iPhone 3G and thus minimize the risk RIM’s new phone would be overshadowed.

By Electronista Staff

Posted in: GETGIT