Todd Wood, RIM's senior vice president of industrial design has teased next year's BlackBerry handsets, describing them as "charming, whimsical and fun." Admittedly, those last two words aren't closely associated with BB devices of the past, but the manufacture will certainly be on the charm offensive after those service outages last month. In an interview with Pocket-Lint, the Wood explained how this year's range was influenced by Bellagio in Italy. This is apparently inspired the style licks -- like the 'fretted' keyboard -- on phones like the Bold 9930 and the barely-announced Bold 9790. Next year's models, presumably arriving with a software refresh in the form of BBX, will be drawn from ideas at a design workshop held in Malmo, Sweden. While we can't imagine seeing a Nordic wood-encased Bold, nor the disappearance of RIM's talismanic keyboard, hopefully the change in design focus will bring a bit of texture and spice to BB's next roll of the smartphone dice.

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BlackBerry design chief says 2012 phones will be 'charming, whimsical and fun'