BlackBerry Bold debuts in North America

Rogers Wireless is the first North American carrier to sell the BlackBerry Bold, a souped-up version of the Curve.

The long-awaited BlackBerry Bold, or BlackBerry 9000, made its North American debut Thursday on Rogers Wireless in Canada.

The Bold is a souped-up version of the BlackBerry Curve model, which has sold well in the U.S. on all four major carriers. This new and improved BlackBerry is supposed to have a superior screen resolution to the Curve and more memory. It also has Wi-Fi and operates over a 3G network, something the GSM version of the Curve does not do. Rogers, like AT&T and T-Mobile, which offer the Curve in the U.S., is a GSM carrier.

But all the new bells and whistles will cost consumers a pretty penny, which might make it out of reach for the consumer customers Research in Motion hopes to attract. Rogers will sell the phone for about $400 with a three-year voice and data plan.

Many have compared the Bold to Apple's iPhone 3G, even going as far as to call it RIM's iPhone killer. But even though the Bold offers an improved full HTML Web browser and an improved screen resolution for watching video, it does not have a touch screen. Like previous BlackBerry models, it has a standard QWERTY keypad and BlackBerry's special track ball for navigation.

That said, the real BlackBerry iPhone killer will likely be the BlackBerry Thunder , which is supposed to have a touch screen. The Thunder is expected to be released later this year.

The Bold has already been available in other countries including, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Chile and Ecuador. But Rogers is the first North American carrier to get the phone. The phone is expected to launch in the U.S. in September. And a CDMA version of the phone is also expected.

CNET Reviews will have a hands-on review of the new Bold soon, so stay tuned for more detailed information on just how well all these bells and whistles actually work.

 

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