Touchscreen BlackBerry expected before Christmas

US carrier Verizon reveals the imminent arrival of the BlackBerry Storm in a promotional email.

BlackBerry Bold

Smartphone maker RIM is expected to launch its highly-anticipated first touchscreen handset in the fourth quarter of 2008, earlier than many industry analysts had expected.

The revelation comes after US mobile phone network operator Verizon Wireless released a promotion email that included the new model.

Known as the BlackBerry Storm 9530, the exact specs remains vague, with Verizon only referring to "global capabilities. Nonetheless, this appears to be the concept unit known as the Thunder. The new device comes just a month after the launch of the high-end BlackBerry Bold and the BlackBerry Pearl flip phone.

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A RIM spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

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