RIM Starting to Play Keno With BlackBerry Device Model Numbers - Intentional Misdirection or ???

Dear RIM, Quit Gaming Us.. Product Branding Isn't Keno
By Bla1ze on 15 Apr 2010 08:22 am EDT
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Looking back at BlackBerry history, for the longest time Research In Motion's "numerical naming" for devices maintained a standard convention. It was not too long ago now that devices were given certain device model designations and they actually meant something to those of us BlackBerry owners that cared to pay attention (especially us hardcore enthusiasts that frequent a site like CrackBerry). As of late, we have seen this whole device model concept sort of fall to pieces. RIM has slowly moved away from this pattern that used to make sense to us consumers to what seems to be device model numbers that are pulled out of a bucket . Now personally, I would like to think that it's just the fact that they ran out of numbers to assign.

Read on for an idea as to why the patterns have now changed.

However, with all the new devices coming out and their recent numerical numbering and codenames I really can't help but think Research In Motion is just doing it to throw users (and bloggers) off the trail of actually finding out what these upcoming devices are. For example 9700a, 9700x and the many other variations of the 9650 we have seen. Be it 9650x,a,v or whatever other letters and numbers RIM made up. Heck, we've even seen references to the BlackbBerry 9999 and BlackBerry XXXX pop up in analytics (what the heck is this stuff?!) Take a look at how the numerical ordering used to be thanks to port3101's HDawg and Sith Apprentice

First 2 digits

  • 81xx - Suretype, Non Flip, Camera
  • 82xx - Suretype, Flip, Camera
  • 83xx - QWERTY, Non Flip, Camera
  • 85xx - QWERTY, Non Flip, Camera, Expanded Internal Memory
  • 88xx - QWERTY, Non Flip, No Camera, GPS, GSM
  • 89xx - QWERTY, Non Flip, Camera, High Res Screen, Expanded Internal Memory, GPS, GSM, WiFi
  • 90xx - QWERTY, Non Flip, Camera, High Res Screen, Expanded Internal Memory, GPS, 3G, WiFi
  • 95xx - Touch Screen, Non Flip, Camera, High Res Screen, Expanded Internal Memory, Video Recording, GPS, GSM, 3G
  • 96xx - QWERTY, Non Flip, Camera, High Res Screen, Expanded Internal Memory, GPS, GSM, 3G

Last 2 digits:

  • xx00 - Base Model, No modifications
  • xx10 - GPS, GSM, Video recording
  • xx20 - WiFi, GSM, Video Recording
  • xx30 - GPS, CDMA, EVDO, Video Recording
  • xx50 - CDMA, EVDO, Video Recording, WiFi

Now with the analytics we have been pulling from the servers, clearly the numbers we are seeing for some BlackBerry devices are certainly either fake or planted just to make us really wonder what's going on. Now, I'm not saying I don't understand as to why RIM would do it; I'm just pointing it out.

Clearly RIM has had their fair share of information unintended for public consumption get out there and it's well within their right to protect their assets as they see fit. If tossing out fake numbers for devices can prevent the real information from being revealed then that's reason enough in RIM's eyes to pull such tactics. But really, it just seems as though they are picking numbers out of a hat now and just tossing them out there.

Personally, if what I'm suggesting here is in anyway accurate it actually kind of makes things more interesting and exciting. So what do you all think? Is RIM just playing with our emotions and tossing out any old numbers they feel like to cause confusion? Or do you really just think they are working a ton of new devices all at once and everyone is just catching them as fast as ever? Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think is going on here.

Reader comments

RIM Starting to Play Keno With BlackBerry Device Model Numbers - Intentional Misdirection or ???

20 Comments

If you have been around long enough you remember when RIM had devices (even pre Blackberry) in the 3 digit range before moving to 4. Perhaps they will move to 5?

from the 950 (which was my first BB) to the 5000 series? 6000 series? I forget which. But they definitely skipped over 1000, 2000, 3000, and at least 4000. So there is a whole range of 4 digit numbers they can go back and cover!

I think I'd hate RIM forever for making me say hey I just got that new Timid 1000 (or Opal Flip 2k10) or hey it looks like your rocking that Partly Cloudy 5050... that....would....be lame.

Actually, I've noticed that this post references models such as the 8350 as a CDMA device, when in fact, it is iDEN and runs on networks, such as the Sprint Nextel network.

That would be 8350i. The i points out it is iDEN.
They were refering to newer devices (9550, 9650 and such).

But I agree to this extent, the list isn't flawless. Some devices they way it is put don't record video when we know they do. And as you pointed out, Sprint/Nextel was kinda left out.

Ehh, I think we're looking too deep into it. It's probably just a complicated internal system RIM uses. I doubt they have an agenda to confuse all of us.

and I am sure this article is on about 300 computers up in waterloo right now. And they are laughing cause it seems to be working for now.

They can do what they want with the device numbers. Just keep releasing them and while they are at it, lets see a new OS. That way Bla1ze can keep upgrading.

They put a bunch of numbers and letters in a big tumbler to pick out the last two numbers. If there's already a device with that number, they get to move to another tumbler and pick out a letter.

Come on baby, show me a new OS, I don't care how many numbers it has!!

Before, you had to pick and choose what you wanted - wifi, GPS, 3G, camrea, etc.
Now all of the devices come loaded with everything.
I wouldn't be surprised if the numbering system stops being used as the main designation and they start really using the "names" more across all levels and carriers:
Pearl - suretype, candybar style
Curve - entry and mid range level devices
Bold - top end devices
Storm - touchscreen

Then they could just start calling them Pearl II, Curve 4, Bold 3, etc.

While some think it's a great idea (many consumers will call the 9700 the Bold 2 despite it just being a Bold 9700) Another point which caused a major failure to otherwise great phone was when Samsung decided to name their first US Android device the Behold II.

Pretty much every feature on the Behold II was top end with a stunning camera and a beautiful AMOLED display.

The original Behold however was a "dumbphone" which many would confuse the Behold II the same as the first when it was an entirely different beast.

This is a rather interesting can of worms for sure...

@dustbow-
i think he's onto something. it's no longer an option for RIM to leave things like GPS out for the sake of WIFI, people demand both. and the tour-bold transformation is showing us that product class names are becoming more important over model number.
that being said, i still expect some sort of relevant numbering system to keep things organized. i work at a cell phone store and always admired the logical system they use compared to brands like samsung who ACTUALLY play jump-rope with model numbering systems.
maybe they should drop the four digit system and switch to a single-letter/three-digit system. Nxxx or something. then the importance of device class can follow through with the first letter indicating class. P-pearl C-curve B-bold S-storm. add that to a logical triple digit model number system and they're set for a long time.

Bla1ze - didn't you proofread the list? Some things that were left off. Also...who cares about video recording?

85xx - no flash, media controls
88xx - not just GSM
95xx - not just GSM
96xx - World Edition

xx30 - World Edition for 88xx, 95xx, 96xx - No video recording for 88xx
xx50 - World Edition for 88xx, 95xx, 96xx
xx50i - iDen, WiFi, GPS, expanded memory

No 71xx series or 87xx series devices? Those just mess it all up even more!

My suggestion to RiIM would be something like:

The Bold A000 (A- triple O)
The Curve A110, A120, A130
The Storm A200