Twitter and Facebook accounts posted a picture of a baseball in what was presumably a pitcher's hand with the words:
We’re throwing a “curve” ball your way. Any ideas? Stay tuned for a big phone announcement coming your way.
OK, it's a phone announcement so it's not LTE or the return of AT&T BYOD SIMs as some have suggested. The only phone I can think of that has "curve" in its name is the venerable Black Berry Curve, the budget version of the classic BlackBerry. The Curve moniker was introduced in 2007 and since has been used on dozens of models.
Today on Howard Forums, well known prepaid phone collector and guru "The Sweeper" posted a link to an interactive tutorial for the Straight Talk BlackBerry Curve 9310. The tutorial tells you how to find the phone's MEID (Mobile Equipment ID), which is a serial number that only CDMA phones have. So the Curve is either on Sprint or Verizon. We probably won't know which until the phone is released.
Update 12-Feb-2013: A Howard Forums user discovered today that the phone's Interactive Tutorial includes an Update Phone Profile and PRL tutorial (under Settings in the tutorial menu) that has the user entering *22890 to program the phone. The *22890 command is used on Verizon and Verizon MVNOs, but not on Sprint. This discovery all but confirms that Straight Talk's BlackBerry, if and when it's released, will run on the Verizon network.
The Curve is an old name but the 9310 (image, right) is one of the newest members of the Curve family, launched on Verizon last May and by Boost mobile in July. It's about as basic as a BlackBerry can get with a 2.4 inch 320 x 240 px screen and a 3.2 MP camera with flash and VGA video capture. It's not a touchscreen device and runs the older BlackBerry OS 7.1, three revs behind the just launched BB10 OS. Based on the tutorial we know that Straight Talk will include BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), the cloud service that makes all the traditional BlackBerry favorite apps like push email, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and BlackBerry App World work.
Although no longer the hip device of the business and entertainment world, the traditional BlackBerry is still very popular. Loyal user insist that nothing does email, IM and other text intensive tasks better than a BlackBerry. If Straight Talk allows the Curve on its normal $45/month unlimited everything plan, it will be the least expensive unlimited prepaid plan with BIS support. If it's on Verizon I predict the BlackBerry will be a huge success for Straight Talk, on Sprint not so much thanks to the Now Network's much smaller coverage footprint.
Full BlackBerry Curve 9310 Specs:
Screen: 2.44" QVGA 320x240 px resolution (164 dpi), Transmissive TFT LCD
Camera: 3.2 MP fixed focus camera with flash and 640 x 480 px (VGA) video capture
OS: BlackBerry® 7.1 OS
- Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n WPA/WPA2 Personal and Enterprise
- FM Radio, Bluetooth, 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack
Memory: 512 MB RAM, 513 MB internal storage , support for micro-SD cards up to 32 GB
Keyboard: 35-key, backlit, QWERTY keyboard with optical trackpad
Processor: 800 Mhz Qualcomm Snapdragon
Battery: 1450 mAh removable battery, Talk time: up to 8 hours, Standby time: up to 18 days, Music playback time: up to 70 hours (with headset usage)
Dimensions: 109 x 60 x 12.7 mm (4.29 x 2.36 x 0.05 in)
Weight: 104 g (3.67 oz)
BlackBerry Curve 9310 Interactive Tutorial, User Guide: Download 13 MB PDF, View online