Despite the more recent releases of the Curve 8500 series and the Curve 3G, RIM has never really offered up a true successor to the venerable Curve 8900 -- a device some would argue remains the prettiest that Waterloo has ever manufactured. Indeed, with the QVGA display and meager cam on the 3G, there's a pretty magnificent gap between it and the business-class Bold 9700 / 9780... so we're pretty excited to see a new model called the Curve 8980 get FCC approval. Oh, and what's more, the filing's now got access to a user's manual and external shots where you can definitely picture this as being a proper optical pad-equipped follow-on to the 8900 of old, complete with a 3.2 megapixel cam with flash and -- if we had to guess -- a high-res display adopted either from the 9780 or the 8900. No word on a release, but here's the kicker: as far as we can tell from the filing, it's EDGE-only just like the device it replaces, which is pretty inexcusable for a device that'd presumably be released in 2011. Add 3G, though, and they've got a desperately-needed new model to slot in underneath the Bold.

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BlackBerry Curve 8980 shows up in FCC, offers some glam shots