Stepping up to the challenge launched by Apple's release last year of the iPhone, RIM has answered the call with their new BlackBerry Bold 9000 due to be released summer 2008. Though lacking the signature touchscreen of the iPhone, the Bold 9000 has design styling that is reminiscent of the popular Apple device. A business-oriented device with full QWERTY thumbboard, the Bold 9000 also offers numerous entertainment features.
RIM has just taken the wraps off its next smartphone model. The BlackBerry Bold will be the first from this company to support tri-band HSDPA high-speed 3G networks around the world.
It will also come with integrated GPS and Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g), as well as a multimedia capabilities.
On the inside
The Bold will run an updated version of the BlackBerry operating system (4.6) on a 624 MHz processor.
It will have 128 MB Flash memory plus 1 GB on-board storage memory, as well as a microSD/SDHC memory card slot.
In addition to the standard functions people expect from a RIM smartphone, the new BlackBerry software suite will include an improved Web browser. This will allow users to look at websites in "Page View" or "Column View" modes, or to zoom in on specific parts of a web page, while they will be able to choose between the full desktop-style layout or a mobile version. It will also allow users to download files from within the browser, and there will be support for watching streaming videos.
This will be a business-oriented device, but it will still include an enhanced media player that will be able to display pictures and slideshows, play movies in full screen mode, and manage the user's music collection. It will even have dual stereo speakers, and the new BlackBerry Media Sync application will provide a way to synchronize iTunes digital music collections with this smartphone.
On the exterior
The design isn't going to be a radical departure from RIM's current lineup. Like many earlier models, it will supposedly have a tablet shape with a QWERTY keyboard. However, it will have a curvier shape, with corners that are significantly rounder than any previous BlackBerry.
There will be one significant change on the exterior, though: this will be the first model from RIM with a half-VGA (480 by 320 pixel) display.
It will have a 2 megapixel camera with video recording capability, built-in flash, and 5x digital zoom.
The BlackBerry Bold will be 4.5 inches tall, 2.6 inches wide, and 0.55 inches thick, and will weigh 4.7 oz.
It will have a 1500 mAh battery, which RIM says will be good for 5 hours of talk time or 13 days of stand-by time.
Coming this summer
The timing of today's announcement was made to coincide with RIM's WES 2008 conference, not because the BlackBerry Bold is ready to be released. RIM says this smartphone will be available from wireless carriers around the world beginning at some point this summer.
It will eventually be available from all the top tier carriers in the United States, and there will even be a version for T-Mobile USA's special version of 3G, according to PC Magazine.
"The new BlackBerry Bold represents a tremendous step forward in business-grade smartphones and lives up to its name with incredible speed, power and functionality, all wrapped in a beautiful and confident design," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO, Research In Motion.