RIM appears to have accidentally revealed that Virgin Mobile USA will get their first true smartphone.
After the demise of Virgin Mobile’s acquired Helio unit, the carrier has languished without any logical 3G data path. Boost Mobile on the other hand has, in the same time, switched back to CDMA, and is offering a $60 3G BlackBerry plan, using the Curve 8330.
Now it appears that Virgin Mobile will one-up Boost Mobile with the release of a the Curve 8330’s successor, the 8530. RIM’s software download page lists a single download for Virgin Mobile; a BlackBerry OS 5.0 restore file for the Curve 8530 smartphone. The file name and format match Virgin Mobile and the Curve 8530.
Virgin Mobile has yet to announce any type of smartphone offering. The companies previous highest-end device is the Pantech Ocean 2 from their former Helio unit. The Ocean 2 has since been discontinued, and all Helio phones were deactivated with the shutdown of the Helio unit. That left the Kyocera X-TC and LG Rumor 2 as their highest-end devices sold currently.
This consolidation of offerings comes also in the wake of Sprint’s Prepaid Group consolidation. Both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile are now fully first-party offerings of Sprint. Sprint remains the only Tier 1 carrier in the United States to not leverage its own branding in the prepaid marketplace.