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BlackBerry Touch breaks cover in leaked photos

RIM's next touchscreen smart phone may well be called the BlackBerry Touch, as the company ditches the Storm brand and works on a slimmer design.

RIM is preparing to unveil a range of new BlackBerry handsets at its BlackBerry World conference in May, if rumours are to be believed. Now one of them -- a device code-named both Monaco and Monza -- has been captured in a series of decent-quality spy shots.

Boy Genius Report, which published the pics, suggests that the new phone will be branded as the BlackBerry Touch when it comes out later this year, with separate versions available for Verizon Wireless in the US (Monaco), and operators in the rest of the world (Monza).

It's a touchscreen handset, and the successor to the BlackBerry Storm 2. It will apparently run BlackBerry OS 6.1 -- the next minor iteration of RIM's software. Boy Genius Report reckons the BlackBerry Touch is 'thinner, faster and sexier' than the Storm, which is a good news, given the competition provided by the iPhone 4, Android and Windows Phone 7 handsets.

We've been tracking this new BlackBerry since January, when shots of it were first leaked. At the time, the suggested specs included a 1.2GHz processor and 512MB of RAM, with 8GB of onboard memory and a microSD card slot for extra storage space.

The touchscreen was pegged at 3.7 inches with a 480x800-pixel resolution. Other rumoured specs include a 5-megapixel camera and 720p high-definition video capability.

A video of the phone, which we then expected to be called the BlackBerry Storm 3, leaked in February. It also emerged that the handset is expected to include NFC for mobile payments and other touch-based interactions. The video has since been removed from YouTube.