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Optimus Prime BlackBerry spotted, may not transform

Pictures of a futuristic-looking BlackBerry have surfaced, with some claiming it's the Bold 9980. What's with the slogan above the logo?

Well if this is a BlackBerry, it's certainly a different design from previous models. We say 'if' because this picture has surfaced on a Chinese website, and as we all know, China isn't shy of a fake or two.

Following the dodgy translation, it appears to be the Bold 9980, though it could be a prototype of the 9900, whose design could've been changed before release to look less like a Transformer. Or, as the translation from the site puts it, "from the side key design point of view, indeed followed the 9900 design, which further proved that this is intimately connected and a 9900 model."

It's a more angular design than the curvaceous finished Bold 9900, with a metallic grey finish and flush, futuristic-looking keys. And the word 'Proceeding' above the BlackBerry logo is a bit puzzling. Is that RIM's code for a prototype device? The optical joystick also has a different look, with four marks making it look like a set of crosshairs.

All quite a mystery. The source link isn't much more help, unless you speak Chinese and can do better than the Engrish of Google Translate. "Prior to 9900 for the cover design does not like the students to see the back cover, you should meet." Ri-ight.

RIM unveiled the BlackBerry Curve 9360 and Torch 9860 at the end of last month, but the company has been struggling of late. Its PlayBook tablet hasn't been selling nearly as well as it hoped (despite RIM's plan to sell the first 500,000 at a knock down price), and in July it slashed 2,000 jobs. Earlier in that month, an anonymous executive released a scathing open letter to the company, likening the PlayBook a Fisher-Price toy.

Image credit: Max PDA