So far, the renders and candid pictures we’ve seen of potential next-generation BlackBerry hardware have been a departure from what we’ve come to expect from RIM. We heard that BBX recently renamed as BlackBerry 10 would feature devices keeping the BlackBerry PlayBook’s aspect ratio and display resolution, a direction that makes having traditional BlackBerry designs with hardware keyboards tricky, to say the least. We didn’t want to think that RIM would abandon such an important feature to its brand, and now we’re seeing the first sign that it might not do anything so harsh, with the reveal of a device render combining the widescreen PlayBook-style display with a hardware keyboard.
We’re supposedly looking at the BlackBerry Milan, a moniker already mentioned in a list of potential device codenames. Like the Dell Venue Pro, the portrait-mode sliding QWERTY keyboard makes for a very tall handset when extended; that sense of odd proportions is even more pronounced here, thanks to a 16:9 screen.
There’s more of the angled-corners design we first got hints of in the 9981, and really saw later in pics of the so-called London, but only on the phone’s bottom edge. The top, by contrast, looks a bit like an iPhone (get your lawyers ready now, RIM).
We’re glad to see evidence that RIM is sticking with hardware keyboards, but is this design winning many fans? Our estimation may change once we see some actual pictures of a physical Milan model, but right now this looks like it could be quite the unwieldy handset.