RIM's BlackBerry Bold beats Apple to the 3G punch

Amid swirling rumours about the impending announcement of a 3G iPhone, Research in Motion today introduced its slickest, speediest, most powerful, and most connected BlackBerry to date: the BlackBerry Bold 9000.

Equipped with support for tri-band HSDPA and quad-band EDGE (which means that it will support the highest-speed GSM-family data networks wherever they are available worldwide), 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth, and both assisted and autonomous GPS, the Bold could prove a formidable challenger to Apple's next-gen iPhone on connectivity alone.

It even looks a bit iPhone-esque, with its glassy display area, generally flat profile, and rounded corners. Still, the Bold comes configured with a hardware QWERTY keyboard, and it retains the general dimensions of its predecessors, so it's much shorter and somewhat thicker than the iPhone.

The Bold's removable back is covered in black leatherette, and you'll be able to personalize the device by buying replacement backs in different colors (blue, brown, green, gray, and red).

The redesigned keyboard has guitar-inspired frets--thin metal strips--between each row. The keys themselves are sculpted to help users avoid fingertip slippage. The device also carries a 2-megapixel camera capable of up to 5X digital zoom.

Fast CPU, high-res display

The Bold's 624-MHz StrongARM processor with full MMX (multimedia extensions) is the most powerful CPU on a handheld to date (the BlackBerry Curve, in contrast, uses a 312-MHz chip without MMX). The Bold's extra power enables the device to handle full-motion video on its 480-by-320-pixel, 65,000-plus-color display (that resolution is double the Curve's at basically the same screen size): In a demo at PC World's offices last week, video clips on the Bold looked smooth and exceptionally sharp.

Of course, little commercial video content is available as yet for non-Apple media players. Further, the Bold's screen is diminutive compared to the current iPhone's roomy 3.5-inch display, and it isn't a touch screen. (RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis simply smiled when we asked about reports that the company is working on a touch-screen BlackBerry).

But since the Bold's smaller display holds the same number of pixels as the current iPhone's, images look much higher-res on it than on its competitor.

The Bold's 1GB of on-board secure memory (on top of its 128MB of flash) will appeal to BlackBerry's core enterprise community, providing storage for items that companies would rather not make available for transport on a micro SD card. But users who want to carry their music and video libraries on their handsets will be able to do so via micro SD.

Carriers will determine pricing, and RIM had no details on which US carrier will introduce the Bold (though AT&T, with the largest HSDPA network in the United States, seems a likelier candidate than T-Mobile, which has just begun to roll out 3G service stateside). RIM said that it expects the Bold to be shipping worldwide this summer.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Yardena Arar

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?