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BlackBerry Milan vertical slider phone leaks

RIM has a new slider phone in the works, and it's codenamed the Milan. And you thought sliders went out along with interchangeable fascias.

RIM is making like it's 2006 with its next phone -- the BlackBerry Milan is a vertical slider, according to this leaked picture from Crackberry.com.

The Milan still manages to pack in all the classic BlackBerry functionality, including a full Qwerty keyboard, so email fans shouldn't be disappointed.

It looks as though it'll run the company's new BlackBerry 10 software. That screen looks pretty large too, and while there's no word on exact specs, the rumour is all BlackBerry 10 handsets will have higher resolution screens than the iPhone 4S's 640x960-pixel retina display. Which sounds pretty good to us.

The rounded corners also remind us a little of the PlayBook, though here's hoping it comes in a more finished state than that much-maligned tablet.

RIM has also done away with the optical trackpad, Call, Hang-up, Menu and Back buttons from under the screen, hinting much more of the phone's functions will be handled from the touchscreen. The combination of full Qwerty and a large touchscreen could well prove a big draw for some people.

The proliferation of touchscreens has all but killed off slider phones in the last year or so, although we have a soft spot for the HTC Desire Z. The last vertical slider we saw was the Pre 3, and well -- we all know how that worked out.

RIM has been having a bit of a tough time of it lately. Initially announcing its new OS as BBX, it then had to be renamed as it was already held as a trademark by another company. It also suffered the BBM outage a couple of months ago that enraged customers all over the world. Its PlayBook tablet has been struggling too, despite a price drop. Though delays in software updates didn't help. Nor did the fact BBM is still missing from that update.

And now look -- two RIM executives got drunk on a flight to China, fought staff and then chewed through their restraints, causing the plane to be diverted, The Register reports. Wow.

What do you reckon of the Milan? Would you like a phone with a touchscreen and a Qwerty keyboard? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.