BlackBerry on Tuesday launched the 9720 smartphone running the Canadian handset maker's outgoing BlackBerry 7 operating system. The new handset, best described as the evolution of the tried-and-true Curve line, includes throwback features like a trackpad and full QWERTY keyboard. One step forward, two steps back?

The truth of the matter is that BlackBerry 7 still ships on the majority of devices sold. During the last fiscal quarter, the company moved 6.8 million smartphones but only 2.7 million were running the newer BB10 OS.

The new 9720 runs a slightly refreshed version of BlackBerry 7 with a focus on social networking. For example, a user can write a message and simultaneously post it to friends via BBM, Facebook and Twitter. Other new features include the ability to unlock the device via swipe and access the camera from the lock screen.

As for hardware, the 9720 includes a re-engineered QWERTY keyboard, a 2.8-inch touchscreen operating at a resolution of 480 x 360, a 5-megapixel rear camera and an FM radio tuner. Connectivity options include HSPA, 802.11n and A-GPS, we're told.

Pricing wasn't mentioned during the launch. All we know at this hour is that the phone will begin rolling out in select markets in the coming weeks. Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East will be the first to receive the 9720. There doesn't appear to be any immediate plans to bring the handset to the US.