RIM's BBX mobiles to break from current BlackBerry form factor, will support BES

The new set of smartphones that will be coming from RIM next year will be changing style, bringing PlayBook like resolution and screen ratio to its mobiles. Along with this change of direction in terms of styling, it's been confirmed that RIM will be supporting Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES).

RIM's vice president of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development, Alec Saunders, told PCMag that the new BBX BlackBerry handset may not look like the Bold, whilst giving some detail as to the new screen.

"Look, if you build [an app] for the PlayBook, then it will run on BBX. We have maintained aspect ratios, BBX also has the ability to upload multiple dimension graphics … [the standard resolutions] are the same as PlayBook."

The screen ratio will be 16:9, the same as the PlayBook, with a 1024 x 600 resolution; this should help with app compatibility. Any apps, therefore, that have already been developed for the PlayBook will be able to crossover onto the new phone without too much trouble.

Interestingly there was no mention of a physical keyboard by Saunders, which does rather set a new course for BlackBerry who is eager to gain a stronger foothold in an ever-more competitive market. QWERTY may not be the future, in the short term at least - maybe we'll get a slide-out.

Rumours have it that we'll see a phone codenamed Colt sometime early 2012, and this should come with all of the PlayBook platform features at launch, including native email and BES support. As Saunders puts it:

"I think you're seeing an evolution of a platform … you should not expect [BBX] to be behind the PlayBook,"

It seems RIM is evolving both its hardware formfactor and platform; this joined up approach could be exactly the right move for RIM and propel it back into the limelight.