RIM announces two new BlackBerry Bold smartphones

The 9900 and the 9930 have the new Blackberry 7 OS, improved browser

Research in Motion announced two new BlackBerry Bold smartphones on Monday that run on a new BlackBerry 7 operating system and include near field communication (NFC) support.

The Bold 9900 and 9930 are the thinnest (10.5 mm, about .4 of an inch) and most powerful (with 1.2 GHz processors) yet from RIM, which opened its biggest annual conference in Orlando on Monday. RIM officials promised more NFC phones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

Pricing was not announced, but both smartphones are due from carriers globally this summer. Prospective buyers can register for more information on RIM's Web site.

The new BlackBerry 7 OS is designed for an easier and faster user experience with improved browsing, voice searches and the ability to manage a user's personal content separate from the user's corporate content.

RIM has previously described this separation of personal and business-related content as an effective means of allowing IT managers to easily strip off corporate content from the smartphone if the employee departs the company, leaving all the personal photos and music intact for the user to keep.

BlackBerry 7 also gives users a full version of Docs to Go for using Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly on the smartphone.

Browsing on BlackBerry devices has long been a big disappointment for most users and RIM claimed the service has been enhanced in BlackBerry 7 with faster rendering and improved panning and zooming. It also has a just-in-time JavaScript compiler to improve the load time for Web pages. The browser also has support for HTML5, including HTML5 video.

Both Bold smartphones have 2.8-in. touchscreens as well as physical Qwerty keyboards with optical trackpads. They run 1.2 GHz processors and weigh about 130 grams (4.5 ounces). The phones are built for easy data storage, with 8 GB internal and a microSD slot that can support a card of up to 32 GB.

A 5-megapixel camera in each supports 720p HD videorecording. The 9900 is a tri-band phone for HSPA+ and GSM/EDGE, while the 9930 is a Dual Bank CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A, Dual Bank HSPA+ and Quad Bank GSM/EDGE device.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

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Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
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