BlackBerry Milan

BlackBerry 'Milan' scrapped due to hardware concerns?

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BlackBerry Milan

BBDoodle: The Vitruvian BlackBerry

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Vitruvian BlackBerry

As I was told back at BlackBerry World by RIM's Senior VP of Design, Todd Wood, every new BlackBerry design starts with a sketch. Of course things quickly move to the computer and onto 3D solid renderings, but even in 2011 the initial concepts still start with inspired designers getting creative with pencils on paper.

No buttons on BlackBerry 10 phones? No problem.

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An idea of what BlackBerry 10 might look like on the Milan

Things are looking pretty good for the BlackBerry 10 Smartphones rumored to be released in 2012. A few weeks ago, we got our first look at BlackBerry London, and then a sneak peek at the BlackBerry Milan. Both phones feature a distinctive angular styling with some nice silver accents. Design aesthetics aside, one question on our BlackBerry tour of Europe remains prominent: where are the buttons?

Except for the keyboard, one of the most-recognizable aspects of a BlackBerry is its buttons. Call, menu, back, and end/home are so crucial to the BlackBerry experience that it's hard to imagine using a Research In Motion Smartphone without them. And no trackpad either? How in the world does RIM expect people to use these phones?

The buttons on a BlackBerry make it very easy to use the phone with only one hand. Everything is but a thumb movement away. Without the almost iconic buttons, will you be forced to do everything on the BlackBerry with two hands? Will people be required to do the BlackBerry Prayer every time they use the device?

As both a BlackBerry PlayBook owner and a Torch 9860 user, I have a little experience in using full touchscreen devices. I'm confident that after a short adjustment period, most people won't even miss those buttons - one-handed use or not.

Exclusive: First Image of BlackBerry Milan - next generation BlackBerry 10 slider!!

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BlackBerry Milan

Well that didn't take long. Last week we posted our BBX (now BlackBerry 10) Roadmap Preview for 2012, where we dropped a number of new codenames into the mix beyond the already photographed BlackBerry London. Lisbon, Nevada and Milan were among the codenames of upcoming QNX-based phones mentioned, but the details we're still pretty slim. 

With the first image of BlackBerry Milan above, things are getting more clear for the next generation of BlackBerry 10 phones. While we don't have any specs just yet for Milan, the photo above says a lot. It's a slider BlackBerry, featuring the physical full qwerty keyboard that BlackBerry addicts know and love. And I'm hearing all of these next generation BlackBerry devices sport amazing displays (higher pixel density than the iPhone 4's retina display), which will really add to the sex appeal here. It's interesting to note that the design on this one seems to merge together two looks: at the top are rounded corners, similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, while along the bottom we have the sharper edges simliar to the photo of BlackBerry London. There's still time for RIM to tweak things up before locking down final hardware design for manufacturing so I'll be curious to see if things change up from here at all by the time we get this phone in our hands.

2012 BBX BlackBerry Roadmap Preview - London, Lisbon, Milan, Nevada, Black Forest

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2012 BBX BlackBerry Roadmap Preview

On a day when shares of Research In Motion closed almost 10% down after the company adjusted its forecast, the timing feels right to take a look at what's in store for RIM in 2012 on the BBX device front. As Chris pointed out in his finance editorial earlier today following up on RIM's announcement, it's fairly clear that BlackBerry 7 Smartphones, while doing ok, are not quite the cash cow RIM was hoping for. 2012 needs to be a year dominated by hot selling BBX devices.

As for BlackBerry 7 Smartphones, with the recent releases of the BlackBerry Bold 9790 and Curve 9380, we are now caught up on the BlackBerry 2011 Roadmap we posted way back in early February of this year. Between the Bold 9930/9900/9790, Torch 9860/9850/9810, Curve 9380/9370/9360 and the exclusive P'9981, there's really no shortage of BlackBerry 7 Smartphones to choose from.

But what's 2012 going to look like for BBX?