Research in Motion may have a replacement for AT&T’s BlackBerry Curve 8900 in the works known as the Curve 8980, hints a recently-declassified FCC filing. RIM’s application for this device — spotted in August running on the China Mobile network — was approved all the way back in April, but all the good stuff (i.e. photos and user manual) was only unshackled from confidentiality agreements last week.
Since this model has yet to be announced, not much is known about it other than previous reports which put its RAM at 256MB, twice that of the Curve 8900. A trackpad also replaces the 8900’s trackball. The FCC documents reveal support for AT&T’s 850MHZ and 1900MHz GSM/EDGE bands, but no 3G radio, which is par for the course with the Curve 8xxx models, save for the Curve 8530.
AT&T currently offers three separate Curve models — the 8520, 8900, and 9330 (a.k.a. the Curve 3G) — although it seems as if the two lower-end handsets are in short supply, perhaps suggesting an impending refresh. With these models seemingly available only in certain markets, AT&T now lacks a BlackBerry in the sub-$100 price range ($99.99 doesn’t count), which would further indicate the need to plug that hole with a new, mid-range device. However, it’s also possible that RIM, like many other manufacturers, simply got approval for an overseas-bound phone never meant for US consumers.