It appears that BlackBerry still has at least one new BlackBerry 7 handset up its sleeve. On Monday, images were released via ThaiBBClub showcasing the purported BlackBerry 9720, which is expected to run on the older BB7 OS as opposed to the newer BB10 platform.
The information aligns with previous statements from BlackBerry’s Thorsten Heins, as the CEO previously noted that the company would release at least one more BB7 handset.
According to the Thai website, the BlackBerry 9720 will reportedly offer 3G and a removable battery. The device will also purportedly house 105.8MB of internal storage, though the lack of data storage will be made up by a microSD card slot located under the battery cover. The phone is expected to have an LED flash, though the actual resolution of the camera remains unknown. Also revealed in the leaked images is a front-facing camera and what appears to be a dedicated shortcut key to BlackBerry messenger on the side of the phone.
After already releasing two major BB10 devices, the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10, moving back towards the older BB7 platform may seem like a peculiar move for the company. However, the BlackBerry 9720 could very well be indicative of the company’s problems.
While BlackBerry’s future is closely tied to the success of its new operating system, the company has been unable to cut ties with BB7. A large portion of the company’s user base remains tied to the platform. Part of the issue with the BB10 platform, as it stands now, is the lack of an affordable, budget-priced device. And in terms of enterprise, BB7 phones are heavily engrained within the BES infrastructure. Switching platforms to Blackberry 10 requires a great deal of time, and companies will likely be slow to migrate. According to a report from SlashGear, BlackBerry has gone on record saying that a number of Fortune 500 companies are currently trialing the BB10 platform.
BlackBerry has yet to confirm any price or release information for the 9720, though the handset has appeared in the BlackBerry’s XML device list.