On the recent RIM earnings call one of the most unexpected things said by RIM's Founder and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis was this:
"Well, we've got a lot of planned announcements at DevCon in October, and we've got -- we'll be announcing our new development platform for QNX and our QNX-based phones. We'll be launching the development phones, so that people can start experiencing the QNX phones and the applications. So we've got a lot of things planned. At this point, we want to be careful not to give up too many of our secrets and specifications of the product and delivery dates. But we're very excited, and the fact that we've already got the development phones operating right now and we're testing them is a great sign"
The announcement that QNX developer phones would be present at the BlackBerry Developers Conference next month definitely came as a surprise to me. And heck, I wouldn't doubt it came as a surprise to many a RIM employee as well (just like how Jim Balsillie said the PlayBook would get native email in 60 days...lol). This definitely is a new move for RIM. Typically new moves for RIM end up having a back story to them, and by piecing together various rumors and intel I think I have a pretty good hypothesis of what's happening here.
So far to date the only reliable codename that has surfaced for the first QNX/BlackBerry SuperPhone is "Colt," which has been rumored to sport a 4.1" touchscreen display. On the radio front, we've heard that the BlackBerry Colt was/is an 3G/Faux G device (not LTE). We've also heard more recently that some of the feedback from carriers is that they're not interested in 3G Super BlackBerry Smartphones, but rather LTE BlackBerry SuperPhones. So what's this mean for the BlackBerry Colt? Well, my guess is that the early limited production BlackBerry Colt units that RIM has been running and developing QNX on will now become the development phones that they'll show off at BlackBerry DevCon. If we see a 4.1" display, no LTE and a very industrial looking design, my bet is that's what happened here.
And what does that mean for the first commercially-available QNX BlackBerry if it is no longer Colt? Well, it means there's a new codename in play for the already evolved full touchscreen QNX BlackBerry SuperPhone. We've heard internally it goes by L3. And no, the L doesn't stand for Lazaridis. It's stands for LTE. Makes me wonder what L1 and L2 might be though. Hopefully full front-facing keyboard and slider versions!