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Hands on: BlackBerry Bold 9900

We get touching and typing with the new Bold 9900 at BlackBerry's launch event, taking a close look at the new design and at the updated BlackBerry OS 7.

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Joseph Hanlon

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Will fortune favour the Bold?

Plenty will be said about the new Bold 9900's upgraded hardware, its hefty allocation of RAM and the performance of its GPU, but let's take a moment to breathe in the beauty of this new handset. At BlackBerry World in Orlando, Florida, we go hands-on with the latest in the Bold family.

From the front, the new Bold 9900 looks much the same as the 9780, though you should continue on in this gallery to see just how differently the new smartphone looks and operates.

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Best keyboard yet?

The official word from RIM is that this is the "best keyboard on a BlackBerry phone ever". But then, they would say that. We like that it seems slightly wider than recent Bolds, but we'll need to type a bit more before we unabashedly sing its praises.

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Should you mix glass and portable electronics?

Several iPhone 4 owners may be cowering with memories of smashed phones at the sight of the Bold's glass-weave battery cover. In truth, it seems extremely solid, but keep an eye out on youTube for the inevitable drop-tests to be sure.

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What's my name?

In case you forget the name of your snazzy new smartphone, RIM has plastered it in huge letters across the back, cleverly remembering to position it so that it won't be obscured when you're on a call.

You can also see the 9900's 5-megapixel camera lens and LED flash. Fingers crossed that this camera is as good as we've seen from the last few BlackBerry releases.

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Look familiar?

The 9900's stainless steel trim will remind many of the iPhone 4, but let's not forget that RIM used this design aspect first in the Bold 9000.

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Fresh-faced

The 9900 will be the first BlackBerry to run on BlackBerry OS 7, and you can see some of the new iconography in this image. OS 7 brings a raft of cool new features, with improved universal search and voice-to-text searching as two of the enhancements.

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Pump up the jam

You get no points for guessing that RIM will include a 3.5mm headphone socket, but we took this photo because we love the way that the stainless steel curves almost organically around the port.

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