Newest in the 9300 series, RIM’s new entry-level Curve 9310 smartphone comes with OS 7.1 pre-loaded. Featuring a slightly thinner body, the design will still seem familiar to repeat BlackBerry Curve users. The feel is super comfy per usual. BlackBerry design engineers seem to have real panache in their form factors.

The small, sleek design allows for a good grip and discreet transport. Other than that it really has at least the minimum amount of features you would expect from a true smartphone. Things like WiFi, a 3.2MP camera, expandable storage, and exceptional battery life are present. There’s not much to complain about, but i’ll get to that soon. Click here to view the official BlackBerry Curve 9310 specs.

OS 7.1 is easy to work with and the software bugs were few in the stock OS. Despite it being an entry-level device, it processed as quickly as a smartphone should. Data transmission never seemed held back by the hardware. Boost Mobile coverage in my area is another story…

Being, admittedly, the “cheap” phone of the RIM product line it’s a bargain at $99.99 outright with a pre-paid Boost Mobile plan or $49.99 with 2-yr agreement on Verizon Wireless.

A common definition of entry-level is “characterized by being at the most appropriate level for use by a beginner”.  Currently 37% of teens in the UK carry a BB device  suggesting the petite, affordable Curve is appealing to such “begginers”. Let us know in the comments what your first device was. If you have kids, what are theirs?

Meanwhile, in developing areas where subsidized carrier plans are less prevalent, it would appear BlackBerry devices like the Curve are all the rage. BlackBerry users comprise 45% of smartphone users in parts of the Caribbean, Latin America, and South East Asia  so RIM product developers certainly had multiple demographics in mind when designing this Curve. While there may be bigger, better BlackBerrys, such high user numbers would suggest this device and others like it are serving RIM well.

To me, “entry level”, denotes an allowance for a certain level of compromise and basicness. Whether it be the hardware, software, or RIM peeps underware, a concession has been made. In this case if there weren’t a comparison to be made against the glitzy flagship Bold 9900 the concessions would be harder to spot.  But, the lack of the most important leap in functionality and efficiency in smartphone technology ever (a touchscreen) is painfully absent.

Anyone able to afford a fulfilling, efficient, smartphone experience is likely holding out for BlackBerry 10 or already have a Bold or Torch. However, RIM does a good job in providing something comparable to those who are simply looking for a smartphone that works for an incredibly wallet conscience budget.


P.S. I was wearing a Bob Marley T-shirt, the Curve 9310’s battery door doesn’t come that way 🙁