By most accounts, BlackBerry 10 seems to be a pretty solid mobile operating system. It’s a definite step up from BlackBerry 7, but that doesn’t mean BlackBerry is done with its older mobile OS just yet.
CrackBerry reports that BlackBerry is working on a new BlackBerry 7 phone for release later this year. The device will be called the BlackBerry 9720 and it may fall within the company’s Curve branded QWERTY keyboard devices. The only other thing we know spec wise is that it will feature a 480×360 display.
Of course, all of this brings up an interesting question – why is BlackBerry releasing a device with an older OS when it should be focusing on BlackBerry 10? The only logical explanation is that BlackBerry wants to offer a more cost effective option to its customers that want to upgrade, but not upgrade to a much more expensive BlackBerry 10 device. Of course, such speculation is just that at the moment.
Besides, BlackBerry has a chance to capture a significant portion of the emerging smartphone market with low cost devices like its new BlackBerry 7 device. Firefox OS and cheap Android phones are already attempting to capture that market, but BlackBerry has been there longer and is a more recognized name in some countries. If it plays its cards right, it could end up with a hit.
Of course, all of this means nothing in the large smartphone markets like the U.S. and China where BlackBerry is nothing but a blip in the smartphone market. BlackBerry 10 definitely has its fans, but it still suffers from an image problem. People still assume that BlackBerry devices are for business, and that they aren’t the hip, cool consumer devices that the iPhone and Galaxy S series strive to be.
In short, releasing a new BlackBerry 7 device might be good for BlackBerry’s business in emerging markets, but it still needs to work on making a device that appeals to the enterprise and consumer markets alike at home.