RIM's BBX smartphones take design cues from PlayBook

BlackBerry's BBX smartphones aim to mimic the PlayBook's spec list

RIM currently has its best design team holed up in a basement at a secret location, working on a range of super smartphones running its new BBX operating system.

Not only is this new breed of smartphones rumoured to be moving away from the ubiquitous form-factor of handsets like the Bold 9900, RIM will be bringing PlayBook-like resolution and screen ratio to the forefront in a bid to take on the big smartphone players.

According to RIM's vice president of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development, the new BlackBerry handsets will be slimmer, finger-friendly, touchscreen affairs with an eye-popping 1024 x 600 pixel screen and 16:9 aspect ratio – the same as the PlayBook. He also quashed rumours that RIM's next-gen smarties won't support the BlackBerry Enterprise Server that has served BlackBerry business users so well over the years

The new BBX operating system, announced back in October, is the result of merging BlackBerry OS and QNX in name but not in software. It will be based on the company's QNX platform as found on the PlayBook, which means apps for OS 7 and below won't work, but PlayBook-specific apps will be able to cross over.

So it appears the BlackBerry's famous QWERTY keys are not part of RIM's future plans. RIM's only just embarking on this new direction for its smartphones, but we're eagerly awaiting the fruits of its efforts – which should be touching down early next year.

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