BlackBerry QNX superphones facing long delay?

RIM unveiled the BlackBerry 7 OS last week, as well as a clutch of new handsets running on the platform, headed up by the BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 (pictured), which might hit the shelves as soon as this week. But what about the generation of phones after that? Well, we could be in for a long wait.

In June, we reported that RIM had decided against a 10-inch PlayBook, instead using its resources to develop a QNX-based 'superphone'. Yes, the same platform as the PlayBook. Initial specifications floated included a single-core 1.2GHz processor – which might be upgraded to dual-core if battery issues can be attended to – a 900+ screen resolution and a 4.3-inch touch-screen. It all sounds impressive enough now, but one analyst claims that the project is unlikely to see the light of day until late 2012.

According to TechRadar, Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies and Co, has told clients: 'We continue to believe the story hinges on QNX, which we believe will be delayed to [the second half of 2012] vs. guidance of early CY12. Channel checks indicate that in spite of RIM's best efforts, QNX handsets are still likely to arrive in [the second half of 2012].'

Obviously that means the superphones will be less 'super' in a year or so if that specification doesn't change. But more importantly, for RIM's ongoing profits, it could mean very little difference in the BlackBerry range for some time - the recently-announced OS 7 handsets might have to fly the flag for BlackBerry for over 12 months. With other platforms advancing rapidly, that's not good news for the company or its investors.

Time will tell, but if you have been sitting tight in the hope of a QNX phone anytime soon, we suggest you look at the latest BlackBerry OS 7 phones instead. Or indeed, look at other operating systems, should an upgrade be due.

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