Next year Research in Motion will start producing smartphones that essentially look like smaller versions of the company’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The PlayBook has a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display and runs PlayBook OS software based on the QNX operating system. The new phones will be smaller, but they’ll still have 1024 x 600 pixel screens and they’ll run the new BBX operating system based on QNX.

In an interview with PC Magazine, RIM VP Alec Saunders says that if a developer writes an app today that will run on the PlayBook, it will also work on future phones running BBX.

The move sounds a lot like the one Apple made when developing the iPad. The company had a mobile operating system called iPhone OS which also needed to run on the larger, tablet-sized iPad. So Apple started calling the software iOS instead of iPhone OS. Sure, iPad users get some different features and support for higher resolution apps, but they’re basically the same operating system.

Since BBX phones and tablets will have the same screen resolution, it sounds like there may be few differences between software designed to run for a device that fits in your pocket or one that’s meant to slip into a bag.

Saunders also confirmed that BBX phones will include support for BlackBerry Enterprise Server and ship with native contact, email, and calendar apps — something that won’t be available for the PlayBook until early next year. The first BBX phones aren’t expected to ship until later in 2012.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...