BlackBerry Phone Overhaul May Not Happen Until Q3 2012

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The Verge

BlackBerry fans may need a lot more patience waiting for Research in Motion to modernize its smartphones, as the first BBX phone is now rumored to launch in the third quarter of 2012.

The Verge posted an image of the phone, codenamed “BlackBerry London” and still in dummy form. Shortly after, BGR reported that the phone is real, and scheduled for a Q3 launch.

(MORE: The Future of BlackBerry Is ‘BBX’)

The BlackBerry London is “thinner than the iPhone 4,” according to The Verge’s unnamed source, and fairly large like Samsung’s Galaxy S II. It reportedly has a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor from Texas Instruments, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of on-board storage, an 8-megapixel camera in back and a 2-megapixel camera up front–essentially, the same specs you see in today’s smartphones.

RIM has chosen this design over an an earlier prototype called the BlackBerry Colt, which looked more like RIM’s PlayBook tablet, according to BGR. But like the PlayBook, the London dummy model is button-free, suggesting that all navigation will be based on swipe gestures. (That’s one of the things I liked about the PlayBook.)

BBX is what Research in Motion calls its next operating system. Mainly, it’s an evolution of the PlayBook’s QNX operating system for smartphones and tablets, with support for rich native apps and for some legacy BlackBerry apps, provided they’re written in HTML5.

Earlier rumors suggested that the first BBX phone would launch in early 2012, but now it seems RIM is targeting the late summer or early fall. That may sound like bad news, but think of it this way: the PlayBook’s buggy, incomplete software was a big reason for negative reviews and poor sales. With RIM betting its future on BBX, the company can’t afford to rush another flagship product to market.

(MORE: The Tragic Decline of BlackBerry)