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BlackBerry 10 ‘London’ smartphone image leaked

A leaked image of what appears to show Research In Motion’s first next-generation Blackberry 10 phone has been posted online. BlackBerry site CrackBerry.com has come into possession of the information, with the phone, named London, looking like a radical departure from the usual BlackBerry look. According to the photo, the device sports a super-slim, dark design and, as CrackBerry says in its report, “looks much more like a phonified BlackBerry PlayBook.” The blurb on the leaked image describes the device as “elegant, understated, precise, solid, slim.”

Spec details are scant though it’s claimed the touchscreen smartphone is currently being tested with Texas Instruments OMAP5 and Qualcomm chipsets (1.5GHz dual core processors). The screen looks like it covers the entire surface of the front of the device, except for a couple of bits of plastic top and bottom. There’s no talk of a release date, though a report late last week claiming to show RIM’s roadmap for 2012 suggests the phone could hit stores in September.

If the leak turns out to be genuine, then this is the device RIM will be hoping will turn around the fortunes of the company. The Waterloo, Ontario-based business has had a torrid time of it of late, culminating in its two CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, stepping aside last week.

They’ve been replaced by the company’s former COO, Thorsten Heins, a man few had heard of prior to his appointment in the top job. He’ll be looking for ways to regain some of the US market share lost to the likes of Apple and phones using Google’s Android mobile operating system. Will RIM’s forthcoming London phone have a realistic chance of making a dent in sales of the iPhone and Android devices, or are American consumers now so wrapped up in the iOS and Android ecosystems that it’s highly unlikely they’ll look to alternative devices anytime soon?

The fact that it might not be out for another nine months is not at all helpful for RIM – the iPhone 5 could be launched around September, leaving Heins and his team with an unwelcome battle to be heard above the hype and buzz that comes with every Apple product release.