Is RIM Behind the Curve in 3G Handsets?

BlackBerry 's long-awaited 3G BlackBerry Curve is said to be coming soon, but the timing of its launch will be critical if RIM is to avoid being washed away in the hype surrounding Apple's 3G iPhone, which is expected in June.

A 3G version of the Curve has been rumored almost since the introduction of the original device last year. (See RIM's Touching New BlackBerry Plans and RIM Curves It Around.) The 9000-series Curve, codenamed "Meteor" would run over AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s high-speed packet access (HSPA) and utilize a HTML browser, making it a very businesslike rival to the current iPhone and other higher-end smartphones, but only if the phone hits soon.

"The clock is ticking," says AR Communications Inc. 's analyst Carmi Levy. "They only have a narrow window of opportunity before the huge wave of iPhone hype arrives and washes everything else away."

"Even if [RIM] announces by May or June, it could be a couple of months before the Curve arrives on the shelves," Levy adds.

Indeed, one anonymous source suggests to Unstrung that the device has been pushed back to August as RIM reworks some software for AT&T.

RIM has not responded to calls about its 3G handset efforts.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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