3G BlackBerry delayed due to 3G iPhone?

Sources speaking to Fortune are suggesting that BlackBerry maker RIM may be employing delay tactics with the debut of its much-rumoured new handset so as to avoid launching the device at the same time as Apple's 3G iPhone hits the market.

The smartphone, that has been leaked as the "9000" is now said to be named the BlackBerry 8900 and dubbed the "Meteor", will offer fast 3G connectivity and a redesigned user interface.

The phone, supposedly to launch first in the States with iPhone operator AT&T has reportedly had its release pushed back from June - when the 3G iPhone is strongly rumoured to launch - to as far as August.

The official reason is said to be technical issues with call quality concerns but those in the know say this is a "cover for more strategic motives" with RIM and AT&T not wanting to go head-to-head launch-wise with the second-gen iPhone.