The new BlackBerry Curve models are expected to be available in Canada before the end of August. (Research in Motion)

Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion has unveiled three new models of its entry-level BlackBerry Curve smartphone.

Like previous Curve models, the 9350, 9360 and 9370 announced Tuesday do not have touch screens, relying instead on the Curve line's standard optical trackpad.

But they will include some of the features unveiled in the new, higher-end BlackBerry Bold and Torch launched earlier in August, such as:

  • The new BlackBerry 7 OS, which includes the document editing package Documents to Go and a security feature that lets users use GPS to locate the phone.
  • Suport for NFC or near field communications, a technology that will enable the phone to read special "smart poster" tags by tapping against them and be used as a mobile wallet to pay for products with a similar tap of the phone, once it is supported by retailers.

The phones are expected to be available in Canada before the end of August and in other countries starting in September, the company said in a news release.

"Availability dates and pricing for specific devices from specific carriers will be announced in conjunction with RIM's partners," it added.

Compared to earlier Curve phones, the new models have an upgraded camera, display, memory and processor, and maintain standard features such as GPS and WiFi support.

The three models differ slightly from each other in their support for flash memory and certain audio formats, as well as their battery life during the use of different applications.

The previous Curve model, the BlackBerry Curve 9300 or 3G, which was launched last year, currently sells for $248 at Wind Mobile, $349.95 at Bell and $399.99 at Rogers with no contract, although lower prices are available with a contract.

That is at least $150 cheaper than the latest Bold and Torch models, which include extra features such as touch-screen capability and larger displays.