A new version of RIM's thumb-clicking smart phone king, the BlackBerry Bold, has been officially announced for a November release. RIM isn't changing the world with the Bold 9780, as it looks exactly the same as last year's model, the 9700.
It has that traditional BlackBerry Qwerty keyboard design, and none of that fancy touchscreen biz we saw with the BlackBerry Torch. It'll also carry the same 624MHz processor and a 2.4-inch HVGA+ display.
But the Bold 9780 is not totally identical, as it has a new 5-megapixel camera and 512MB of storage, rather than the 3 megapixels and 256MB of last year's model. The camera will support continuous auto focus, scene modes, image stabilisation and video recording, and comes with a flash. There's also a memory card slot to support up to 32GB of extra data capacity. You also have Wi-Fi, 3G and GPS, but with a high-end smart phone you wouldn't expect any less.
The Bold 9780 will run with BlackBerry 6 OS out of the box, complete with a new WebKit Internet browser. The new OS offers a universal search feature and a simpler way to access your social networks and BlackBerry Messenger. There's also a dedicated YouTube app, as well as redesigned music and picture apps.
There's no official word from RIM on availability, but it's already leaked out that T-Mobile and Vodafone will offer the Bold 9780, with the phone likely to be free on £30 per month two-year contracts. Although not much has changed with the 9780, the Bold line is still the top branch of the BlackBerry bush. The touchscreen Torch failed to get our juices flowing, so we're relieved RIM is going back to basics.
We don't doubt the BlackBerry Bold 9780 will do well. It doesn't rock the boat and masses of BBM-ers and business folk feel comfortable enough with their Bolds. For now it should be fine, but in the future as more people want touchscreen devices, it might struggle to compete with the iPhone and Android. We're looking forward to next year's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and its new OS to see if anything really new is coming from RIM.
Is it enough for RIM to give the BlackBerry Bold line a quick spit and polish, and basically release the same device? Will the love for its clicky Qwerty keyboard ever diminish? We'd like to know what you gadget-crazy lot think about this.