BlackBerry Essex Spotted; Dakota to Use Liquid Lens Tech?

By Kevin Michaluk on 4 Oct 2009 11:06 am EDT

BlackBerry EssexBlackBerry Essex 

Our pal sal is continuing his BB leak streak, this time bringing some photos of the BlackBerry "essex" and a little update on the BlackBerry codenamed "dakota" (formerly codenamed "magnum").

BlackBerry Essex: As you can see from the photos above (note - there's plastic covering over the display/trackpad... it is a standard trackpad), on the front side the BlackBerry essex is essentially a BlackBerry Tour with a trackpad (my previous essex quick photoshop job was actually spot on!). As a CDMA follow-up to the Tour, in addition to the trackpad replacing the trackball, the essex (Tour 2?!) will sport WiFi and by the sounds of it, an improved camera - though nobody seems to be quite sure on the megapixels just yet. As for release date, I've been hearing the essex could arrive as early as late January/February. Historically that would be really soon for RIM to release a follow-up device, but seeing as how everything is going trackpad now and that VZW mandated for all future BB's to pack WiFi, pushing this out asap makes sense.

BlackBerry Dakota: We've talked quite a bit about dakota in previous CrackBerry podcasts and a little bit in the blogs prior back when it was codenamed magnum. Surprisingly, no photos have ever dropped to date of magnum or dakota, but essentially it will be RIM's first hybrid device (GSM) that combines a front-facing full qwerty physical keyboard with both a touchscreen and a trackpad. The new news dropped by sal today is that it sounds like RIM may be going in a different direction with the camera lens technology on this one and utilizing a liquid lens

I'm as excited as all heck for the upcoming releases of the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and Storm 9550/9520, which are both going to be stellar BlackBerry devices, but can't help but get really excited for the new form factors it looks like RIM will be introducing next year (keyboard + touchscreen, vertical slider). It's funny... the stock may have recently taken a beating, but I'm feeling better than ever about the future of BlackBerry!

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Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

BlackBerry Essex Spotted; Dakota to Use Liquid Lens Tech?


Why is there more space between the keys on Kevin's Essex compared to the pics Sal took of his Essex? Or is it just the angle and light exposure of the pictures?

The reason for this may be because Kevin's "essex" is a photoshop. It could also be because Kevin's is a older pre-release device. I think Kevin's device is an actual photoshop rather than one of his usual "photoshop" jobs. If you look at the bottom row of the keyboard on Kevin's pic, it looks like the bottom row of a tour. Salo's pic has the bottom row of the 9700.

It is possible that Kevin had seen the essex at the time when he made his photoshoped essex, so he knew what his photoshop needed to look like. He also probably figured that dispite his limited photoshop skills, he could get a trackpad onto a picture of the tour and make the about screen say "essex".

It is also possible that kevin actually had an essex and that the device has changed slightly since he got his. We may never know for sure :)

What I do know for sure is that I want one of these ASAP!

haha that's a lot of ideas. I appreciate all of them. All seem valid.

I want one too. I wish we knew the estimated release so I could decide between the Essex and the Storm 2.


We do know the estimated release dates :)

Storm 2 is rumored to hit VZW on Oct 25. If not then, then it should drop some time before the end of November.

The Essex is expected to hit Sprint and probably VZW in the first half of 2010. Probably closer to Jan than June, but that depends on who you ask.

Is it correct to say that putting a sliding keyboard on a touchscreen solves the screen size problem but at the cost of a larger device - for example, not a device that would fit easily in a shirt pocket? Or it involves going the Palm Pre route where both screen size and keyboard are small - particularity the keyboard.

The only thing im really only interested about is the Magnum, since its the only thing original to come from RIM since the Storm in quite some time. Boy are the CDMA guys gonna be pissed when in 8 months you have a clone phone that has better specs (barely at that)

Give us some groundbreaking OS news, these devices are being trite and tired.

This phone looks like it is going to be very nice and the liquid lens I wanna see how that works out.

looking forward for this phone..

1. Essex makes me glad that I held off on the Tour.

2. I remember emailing RIM long ago that they should be producing a Treo-like BlackBerry that had both a physical keyboard and touch capability, and I am SO GLAD that Dakota is under development - even though we haven't seen any pics or videos of it, I'll assume the rumors are true.

Let's hope the OS is even better on these devices! :)

Thanks for the cool news, CB.

I love the concept of both touch screen navigation and physical key-board on the Essex/Manum, but why include a trackpad??? get rid of the trackpad and make a larger screen!!!

Am I right or wrong?

My reasoning on keeping the trackpad would be for RIM to one of it's long-time strengths: one handed ease of use. As soon as you scrap the trackpad, now it becomes more of a two-handed phone or one hand but you need to awkwardly hold it/move your thumb around.  If it has the trackpad, you can still fully get around the full phone by just moving your thumb a little bit, then take advantage of the touchscreen for times when you really want it (web browsing / flicking through photos, etc.). though a big screen is always nice!



made a smart move in my opinion. Let the Essex drop in Jan/Feb. with the wifi and trackpad. IF you're one of the premier customers that can upgrade every year, you can look forward to upgrading to the Dakota/Magnum or whatever in 2010.

Not like im in a hurry to get rid of my Tour, because I love it! But the touchscreen and slider devices seem so appealing.

I also love the idea of the full keyboard, trackpad and the touch screen. I agree with Kevin on why to keep the trackpad. In my opinion, I believe the trackpad is always good to have incase the touch screen faults or vice versa.

I think 2010 is going to be a good year for us BlackBerry lovers :)

I'd love to hold out for the Dakota but since its a GSM device, Essex is my best bet since Verizon is my carrier.

I'm diggin the trackpad and the wifi. Perhaps I'll hold off on getting the tour now.. my 8330 running 5.0 is pretty sweet as it is

I was thinking about upgrading to the 9700 when it hits T-Mobile but after seeing this, I think I'll wait for the Dakota, even though it seems to only be a rumor right now. It sounds like the device I've been waiting for and dreaming about.

i understand the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality, but aren't you a little tired of all new devices looking exactly the same?

RIM should give the Essex to Tour owners for free for our pain and suffering. I would like to say I would buy an Essex when it comes out but... RIM doesn't deserve a cent of money after the Tour fiasco. Been a RIM user for over 5 years, but sorry... I'm done with you.

I'm really starting hate RIM all these new phones look all the same where is that originality they use to put in the phones. I promise ya if I was going to be killed and i needed to call 911 from my phone. I will get killed quick because the storm freezes every 5 minutes.. I HATE IT..I cant wait to the magnum.. Ima give RIM one more chance.

I agree with you Jeremya2008 in the fact that all the new phones look the same...why not change up the appearance a little bit? But for the second half of your comment, I had the same problem with my storm freezing, but then i upgraded to 5.0 software and it hasnt frozen since. it also runs alot quicker, so you should try that. otherwise make sure youre fully closing out of your apps?