QNX Developer Phone to be BlackBerry Colt? First Commercial QNX BlackBerry Smartphone to support LTE?!

L3 - 1st QNX BlackBerry SuperPhone featuring LTE
By Kevin Michaluk on 26 Sep 2011 03:10 pm EDT

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!

Reader comments

QNX Developer Phone to be BlackBerry Colt? First Commercial QNX BlackBerry Smartphone to support LTE?!


Sounds amazing and am sooo excited! I might get a full touch BlackBerry if its designed beautifully.

I agree. I honestly think that Blackberry needs to focus on one single phone, like the iPhone, not several phones. Too many phones = lost in translation as to what RIM is trying to get at. People nowadays don't want a phone that fits their personality, they want a phone that is the "it" phone.

Simple, clean and liked by all is what design should be. Apple got that one right. Let's hope that RIM will get theirs right as well.

Thanks Kevin. We've all learnt to read in between the lines when you give us a 'leak' like this.
That said, if you stop and think for a minute, the next gen Blackberry couldn't have sported ancient 3G tech if it wanted to be taken seriously. Especially considering it might be a while before it is at your local dealer.

I disagree. If it is on any carrier other than Verizon it could easily have not sported LTE. Also, the 3G tech and the "4G" tech of T-Mobile and AT&T aren't all that different until AT&T moves to LTE. As for Sprint, well, I know wi-max exists and think it could have been a winner, but Sprint dropped the ball on the roll-out, even with the added $10 fee.

I counter-disagree. Firstly when do you realistically expect to buy this device? There you go: By then 3G tech WILL be archaic. Whether it's wi-max/4G/LTE is another matter depending on your carrier. The T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint platforms you are talking about are in America and I doubt if RIM plan to sell this device in America only.

Fortunately, you're wrong. Many international carriers right now are planning to implement LTE, HSPA+ (Already available in many countries too) and WiMAX. I know a mexican carrier called Telcel that will implement the three technologies by Q1 2012. you can stop to think these are "America only". I do agree that 3G will look archaic in America when this devices are released, however.

Can't wait to see the demo in October .... hopefully they get it right this time. Throw in some proper marketing and we have a winner for RIM.


Do you know if you will be able to put Playbook's OS2 on this Playbook hardware version, or if they are coming out with a "new and improved Playbook" for the launch of OS2?


I'll stick my neck out. There is no Playbook2 yet, and OS2 is definitely for the current PlayBook (the one and only).

I think most people are in the wait and see mode .. but hopeful that RIM pulls a shiny rabbit out of a new! hat ..

I love blackberry to death but i wont be surprised when this product is delayed. Summer 2012 sounds more realistic to me and these CEO's need to get the f**k out and do some homework.

I think they need to do their homework.. maybe take a temporary leave or something and educate themselves in the business their competitors stole from them many years ago.

exactly. i dont know why or how they fell so behind. I mean what is the deal with shipping out outdated hardware in these phones. Im not a gamer but they really need some game developers to win over the gaming crowd... ugh... frustrates me!

This has me very excited. Please RIM, get it right. Not only will the "Colt" be your last chance with me, but I suspect, this will be your last chance in the business. Just my opinion, right or wrong.

Pretty exciting stuff here Kev. I must say, it's got me pretty wet.. around the mouth, you know.. like drooling.. nothing else...

I think RIM needs to get LTE in the market before Apple. That would definitely help out in terms of looking like the "last to the party" technology.

iPhone 5 will be LTE. Apple won't let Android get in the game without some competition. Colt will be LTE too. It's a no brainer. Next topic!

Why would Apple come out with an LTE iPhone that would only work on Verizon?

Yes, there are other carriers (in North America anyways...) that are coming out with LTE but they've only just launched or are in the process of launching and at most all they got now are Internet Sticks that use LTE.

Maybe the iPhone 6, extremely doubtful for the iPhone 5.

Blackberry? Yes, late 2012 I say.

As previously mentioned in a forum thread, RIM needs to confirm that there will be an LTE-capable phone (at least on major U.S. carriers) ASAP to stop the flow of customers (speaking mostly of VZW customers here) who are itching to jump to what is likely to be an LTE-capable iPhone5. Yes, there are reasons people choose one vs. the other, etc., but the prospect of waiting another development cycle (read: one year or longer) for an LTE-capable BlackBerry is enough to send some potential customers looking elsewhere while RIM catches up.

The most prudent thing to do would be to (1) announce Tablet OS2.0; (2) show the development model QNX phone; and (3) announce that LTE-capable BBs will be arriving by (insert fixed date here) on carriers X, Y, and Z (if known).

Hopefully RIM will learn about keep specs competitive. They need to build next years phone with next years competition in mind. NOT buying phones for next year that compete with phones from this year. Dev con should be interesting, hopefully it's not qnx phones behind glass...

"This is definitely a new move for RIM" What?

We are very excited.....

We will have new stuff that will be great.....

I don't want to give anything away but ...

This hardly sounds new to me

I love my 9930... except when it freezes... grrrr, but RIM stop saying and start doing. PLEASE.

so now what another delay these guys said early 2012 i think we just got screwd againnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!

When QNX OS comes out, do you reckon people with the new blackberries will be able to put a QNX os on their smartphone? Or do the specs have be higher?

All of you repent now! I swore an oath never to go full touchscreen. We at the Fat Thumbs Club of Americas stand by the physical keyboard.
Always physical,
Tom "Thumbs Up" Petowsky
Founder, FTCA



I am a fan of the 'traditional' screen and keyboard set-up but after having my PB for sometime now I am open to a full touchscreen QNX experience.

Where do I send my membership application? I love my new 9930, but I swear there are times the touch screen ticks me off due to my fat thumb moving up from the touchpad.

I have fat thumbs and I'm damn proud of it.

Panda's Mom
i have lived with club thumbs all my life. not fitting into scissors, too short for the piano, terrible for touch screens. I LOVE the keyboard on my Bold 9000 and am waiting for the 9900 to come to AT&T. don't let me down!!

No specific source, but the market is all about LTE. LTE will be looking for new phones to exploit its potential, and the carriers be hungry to push those phones!! If it ain't got LTE, it ain't moving!

So, you tell me, what's the chance that the Colt won't be LTE?

Finally, all new Qualcomm chipsets have LTE built-in. All carriers have signed up to LTE. It's the future. No phone manufacturer can ignore that. If they do, they're dead and buried.

No need for me to make a point why it wont have LTE, but when you make a statement with the word FACT after it then expect people to want to know where you are basing this FACT from. Otherwise it is like most other things at this point, speculation; with passion I see.

I think that if they would have accepted 3g colt we might of seen them early 2012 but now to switch them to lte and change the design it could be what kills them them if these things aren't early 2012 rim is done with apples ios5 and there new imessage or what ever its called any delay will kill them apple is going to advertise this new messaging thing to death it will look like they invented it. Rim really needs to get these phones out quick

Yeah, Apple WILL say they invented it. "iMessage me!" will be changed to "IM me!". Years later, people will believe that Apple invented Instant Messaging. Smart marketing! It's no wonder they're on top!

Hey, I'm starting to think RIM should build an iPod device. Some younger kids don't need a phone, but they need a WiFi device that can browse the web and play music and stuff. Apple has been dominating that market with the iPod Touch. They need some significant competition, and a QNX-based mini-tablet is just what the doctor ordered! Make it a 4" or 5" PlayBook!! Sell it for just under $200. It will really boost RIM's presence in the classrooms of the world!

I've run out of anticipation. I'm happy with my bold, waiting for my playbook update and my anticipation is when they stop making the 9930 and the QNX phone has a keyboard. For now I am in bliss and for those who upgraded I invite you to join in my happiness. My thirst has been quenched and though I anticipate being thristy again I know I can be at peace for now.

I love my 9930 as well. The only thing I really would love that is missing is some form of Adobe Flash Player. If I could get this on my 9930 I'd be more than content

Same here. 9780 + PlayBook. When the 'traditional' layout QNX phone releases I will again be excited as all get out!

The fact that Rim was going to push out another 3G phone and the carriers had to say NO makes me think Rim just don't get it, STILL. If they keep up with the incremental upgrades I'll never go back. I am really starting to angry because I feel they think their customers are punks and will buy whatever they put out and the carriers are the good guys!!! I don't think I've ever said that (or thought that) before.

Rim has to go to town with this. Nothing less. At 4.1 inches, it at least matches the competition. I am just hoping it is not oddly narrow like the 9850/9860. It is not good for the virtual keyboard in potrait. Also ditching the Colt name is sidestepping followers who have been psyching themselves up with it. I am struggling to understand the relevance of rebranding developmental devices, especially after a name has been released to the public. The marketing falls off its stride.



Hmm wasn't the playbook rejected by Sprint too, after they announced they would carry it. RIM said this is because they wanted to concentrate on LTE.

I agree with the comments above, if the carriers are telling RIM to pick up the pace...wow, that's not good. The thing is, they are in the phone business why don't they get it? The only thing I can think of is they want to sell the same phone to the USA that they sell in Nepal, but after being whipped in the ass for three years you'd think they'd get it that they can't do that.

Unlikely to be called Colt. Colt is probably the internal development name, like Monaco, Monza, etc. It's got to have a slick name, so I'll offer up some suggestions :)

- BlackBerry One -- the new standard, unmatched, unrivaled, extraordinary!
- BlackBerry Solo -- this device can really stand on its own; don't need a laptop :)
- BlackBerry Presto -- fast, instantaneous, first, new, MAGIC!!

There are supposedly 3 phones. L1, L2, L3, with L3 being the full touch screen talked about. My guess is:
L1 is the Bold
L2 is either the Curve, or Torch slider if Rim can get out if they're exclusive contract with ATT.
I'm just glad the CARRIERS have set Rim right.
If they come out half baked with no app eco-system or no android app player, they're done in the US, except to the few business people that need the keyboard or don't know how good the competion is.

The only reason you will show off the phones is if within one month you send it to market.

Yes it kills people that visit crackberry.com not knowing whats coming next, but with all your delays, it just continues to be embarrassment of the Blackberry name plate. Not to mention it shows the competitors what you have in the works.

This is why you are failing, no one has truly seen the new iPhone 5 for good reason...

I don't want LTE on my phone at this point. I have a 9930 and the battery is already hurting as is. Add battery intensive LTE chips and this phone would be worthless. The extra speed is not worth the loss of battery life.

I really hope this doesn't have LTE unless it has the new LTE chips that I don't think will be ready when this is released.

I'm inclined to think this is why RIM is in such quagmires. Are you aware you can CHOOSE between 2G and 3G on a Blackberry? Do you think choosing between 2G, 3G and LTE to save your beloved battery will be absent? It is always battery this battery that. Are you aware you can use settings that dumb down your device in the name of prolonged battery life? Why should RIM permanently dumb down their devices in a spec crazy market?
The capability has to be there and the option to turn it off yours period.
I'm thinking you want the colt but want specs from ages ago? Sort of beats me.

I don't know if they ever did, but I know of no current BB's that can switch manually down to 2G service on CDMA service (Sprint/Verizon). I've read many times that this is easy to do in the options with GSM. So with CDMA, this should be added once LTE is added into the mix. At least to drop down to 3G from the LTE when speed is not that important. In my uses, EVDO sucks the battery now much more than good old 1X. And where I live, 1X signal is stronger and my battery hates the bouncing back and fourth hanging on to EVDO. It's and easy option so why isn't it there?! Wrong place to be bitching about it, but dang it wish this was an option for me now.

When auto manufacturers are designing the next generation of cars they hold focus groups, and in order for a design to move forward it has to trounce the current competition because it's assumed the competition will be improving as well. Anything less is likely to be a flop. I don't think RIM does this. Either that, or their time to market is SO much longer than any other company they're simply being lapped every design cycle.

Instead of L1/2/3 why not K1 (keyboard) S1 (slider) and T1 (touchscreen)?

I wanna know how this phone would turn out and hopefully they make it have a physical keyboard to.. What rim products been missing that other brands have is facetime.. If the qnx phones have that then I'm sold.. Gonna hold off getting a OS7 phone and get a qnx phone if it would be worth getting

What do you mean facetime? You mean video calling? Apple's tactics of taking an existing tech, renaming it and hyping it for all its worth has gone into your head too?