05-06-2006, 12:25 PM
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| | 8180m Camera Blackberry
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BlackBerry 8180m camera phone by September?
I've been piecing various clues together and have come up with a speculative, but well-informed prediction.
Look for a camera-phone BlackBerry by this fall. I'll even predict a model name: BlackBerry 8180m. Carrier: Verizon Wireless.
First, I refer you to an interview BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion's co-CEO Mike Lazaridis granted to the Bloomberg News Service in late February.
"There's a lot of room for new stuff'' in the BlackBerry, Lazaridis told Bloomberg's Rebecca Barr in an interview at his headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario. "Adding multimedia technology is inevitable.''
OK, so now we know how BlackBerry execs are referring to this functionality: "multimedia."
Then, we have to think, well, OK, in which BlackBerry form-factor will camera- and perhaps some music- functionality- appear? Will it appear in the standard BlackBerry PDA factor? No, I think. That would be too much diffusion of BlackBerry's PDA identity.
What about in the cellphone form factor associated with the 7100 series? Now we're talking. The BlackBerry For Life section of the BlackBerry site doesn't show PDAs, but highlights more cell-like devices such as the Verizon BlackBerry 7130e. And at least the way RIM looks at it, multimedia is more of a consumer, "for life" amenity than a business tool.
But I don't think a new generation of BlackBerry multimedia phones will be tagged with the 7xxx series moniker. Not enough differentation there. Nor do I think the brand numbering will leap all the way to 9xxx. Call it a hunch, but after 9xxx you run out of easily brandable numbers. I don't see the far future as offering BlackBerry 10xxxs.
When you consider, though,that BlackBerry has achieved significant consumer identity with its 71xx series, and cutting-edge PDA recognition for its 8700s, it will be wise for them to combine the two in a branded BlackBerry 8xxx with a camera phone.
The BlackBerry camera phone won't be called the BlackBerry 8100, though. A snazzier selection of digits just has to do. How about 8180? The "8" - which connotes advancement - is highlighted.
A letter needs to be assigned to complete the brand name. Since Verizon is the strongest consumer BlackBerry partner, I believe this will be a Verizon product. But unlike some other carriers, Verizon has never insisted on a "v" as part of their BlackBerry phone nomenclature.
What letter, then? Can't use "C" as short for "camera phone." Cingular has the "C" locked in, and this phone may well be more than a camera phone.
Here, I map back to Lazaridis' statements about a "multimedia" phone being inevitable. This is a guy who knows branding, and you can bet the first multimedia BlackBerry will be branded very heavily. And what better way to brand it than with the letter "m?"
"M".. as in the BlackBerry 8180m multimedia phone?
I expect this by September in time for the fall gift rush- and a brag point for Mike and Jim Balsillie to talk up the potential for the next fiscal quarter.