T-Mobile’s new Blackberry is just $80

It seems Blackberry may still have one edge over iPhones and Androids – they’re cheaper.

At least this one is. The Blackberry Curve 9360 is coming to T-Mobile at a consumer-friendly price point of $130 for customers signing a new two-year service agreement.

The carrier is then offering a $50 mail-in rebate, making the final effective price $80.

That’s the good news. The bad news is it is still very much a Blackberry. Sporting the old-school Qwerty keyboard and a small 2.4-inch display, there’s nothing modern about this phone’s design.

Nevertheless, there is still a huge market of consumers who want a “smartphone” but don’t want to or can’t afford to shell out $200-$250 for a phone.

It was RIM’s ability to offer Blackberries at cheap prices to consumers that helped catapult it to huge sales up until a few years ago. Since then, of course, it has been unable to keep the enthusiasm going.

This is the correct strategy for RIM right now. The company recently launched the Blackberry Bold 9900 at an astonishing $300 after-contract price, which seems like a total misfire. Right now, RIM is in a “team building” season and needs to focus on the segment where it can make an impact – the budget-conscious consumers.

Next year, RIM will begin offering QNX-powered Blackberries. QNX is the operating system used on the Blackberry Playbook tablet and has been one of the few good things the company has done in the last two years.

So in 2012, there is a shot that Blackberry might make at least a small comeback, but by then it might be too little too late. Regardless, if it can grab the budget-conscious consumer crowd, at least that’s something.