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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 3, 2011 at 10:34 AM

New BlackBerries, plus Snapdragon brand for new tablets, phones

If you’re not among the crowd waiting for the next iPhone, Research in Motion today announced the first three BlackBerry smartphones based on its new BlackBerry 7 operating system.

Simultaneously, Qualcomm announced new branding for its Snapdragon mobile hardware, which could make it easier for people to choose between the flood of new smartphones and tablet devices coming to market. Its new branding will also likely help people shopping for Windows 8 devices next year.

Qualcomm’s S1 category will have single-core processors with speeds up to 1 gigahertz, according to a writeup at EE Times.

The S2 will also be single-core, up to 1.4 GHZ and support 720p video and stereoscopic 3D displays.

The S3, used in the HTC Evo 3D and HP TouchPad, will go up to 1.5 GHz and have dual-core options.

The upcoming S4 line will be dual or quad-core, run at up to 2.5 GHz and support LTE networks.

I’ll bet the S4 will be used in upper-end Windows 8 tablet PCs when they appear next year. Qualcomm has been a key partner for Microsoft on both Windows Phone 7 and the development of full versions of Windows that will run on mobile hardware.

The EE Times report said 20 companies are developing Snapdragon-based tablets, among 375 current and future devices using the hardware.

RIM reportedly used Snapdragon for its new BB7 devices, but it’s not using the new branding or even calling out the chip manufacturer in its release today. That may be because the devices were delayed when RIM made a late switch to Qualcomm’s platform.

Still to come — next year perhaps — are phones based on RIM’s QNX operating system, which is used in its PlayBook tablet.

The new phones announced today all have touchscreens and two have hard keypads. They include the Bold 9900 — at 10.5 millimeters, the thinnest BlackBerry yet — plus two Torch models. The Torch 9810 has a slideout keypad and 3.2-inch screen, and the Torch 9850 has a 3.7-inch touchscreen (and a little curve like the HTC MyTouch phones …).

RIM claims that the phones’ browsing is up to 40 percent faster than BlackBerry 6 phones and 100 percent faster than BlackBerry 5 models, because of their faster hardware, new OS and improved WebKit browser engine.

They’re supposed to be available from wireless companies later this month.

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Comments | Topics: Phones, Tablets, Windows 8

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