£529, you've got to be joking
I admit it, I am a phone junkie. I like the BB form factor, owing a Pre, E61i, Treo 750, BB9700 and HTC Chacha. Seriously, is OS7 really such an advance on OS6? Should it really be 6.1? I love my BB9700, except the web browser and email size limitations, but it only cost me £200 (2nd hand). 2 or 3 days battery life with 4 push email accounts, twitter, Facebook all running is something the HTC can only dream of.
The Chacha was purchased from CEX, as a carrier locked model for £135, and was brand spanking new. Even better it turned out to be a SIM unlocked/free model. Now I'm not going to claim the Chacha is a rival to the BB9900, but at £400 less, it does somethings way better for a lot less cash.
If RIM did a cost reduced version, and managed to improve the browser experience, then I'd probably trade up. But at that price, it's a no deal for me. The verdict seems spot on, unlikely to attract new people to RIM, and a trade up for BB9000/9700/STORM (shudder) owners.
The BB9700 was the last decent, VFM, handset they did, IMO. Upgradable to OS6, well built, speedy. I did try a BB9800 and was unimpressed. Likewise the BB9780 had virtually no extra features except more memory, uprated camera and UMA over the BB9700. Who supports UMA in the UK? None of the carriers I was on.
I don't see a happy ending for RIM, they've been tweaking models for far too long and the new form factors are unimpressive. TORCH/STORM I'm looking at you! Let's hope it's not HP/PALM all over again.