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Six BlackBerry 10 handsets on the way as two are exposed

In a year full of bleak news for Research In Motion, including many predictions of the demise of the Canadian firm, the forthcoming launch of its BlackBerry 10 platform has taken on increasing importance.

The new OS is set to be accompanied by a series of handsets and Pocket Lint has been told that RIM will be attacking all levels of the consumer spectrum, with six devices covering high-, mid- and entry-level markets when BB10 is released next year.

Pocket Lint was shown two members of the new line-up: an all touchscreen model and a touch and QWERTY keyboard combination device “offering a similar experience to the current BlackBerry Bold 9900.” Photographs were not allowed during the sneak peek but the touchscreen phone reportedly has a 1,280 x 720 pixel screen, while the keyboarded device sports a 720 x 720 display.

RIM said the BB10 hardware was now finished and in a testing phase, with Pocket Lint, which saw some of the OS’s new features in action, adding, “If you’re a BlackBerry user, trust us when we say you’ll be excited.”

The news that touchscreen-only devices would be included in the BB10 launch broke earlier this summer, in a bold move that sees RIM dabble outside its physical keyboard trademark. No doubt inspired by the success of touchscreen-only iOS and Android devices, RIM seems keen to replicate its rivals and perhaps move away from its corporate reputation, with Instagram-style photo suites set to add to BB10’s ‘fun factor.’

"The physical keyboard is the most dominant item that separates out Research in Motion from its competitors," warned BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis in June. "If you are not playing to your historical strengths you may find it more difficult to get traction."

Only the launch itself will show us if the handset line-up is indeed a gamble; stay locked into ITProPortal for any specifics on release dates and news on the four other models.