Announced in Jakarta, Indonesia, today, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 has a narrow QWERTY keyboard form factor, similar to the Bold 9700/9780. RIM calls it an evolution of the Bold form factor, which has also included wide QWERTY smartphones, such as the recent 9900. The 2.45-inch LCD touch screen has a resolution of only 480x360 pixels (HVGA), which is rather low by the standards of midrange smartphones these days. Carlo Chiarello, senior vice president of handheld product management at RIM, has assured us that it has the "right balance of resolution and LCD quality," resulting in good "blacks and contrast levels."
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Raised Bold 9790 buttons
The Bold 9790 comes with a raised row of buttons under the touch-screen display, which represents a departure from the usual flushed version. Love it or hate it, it is reminiscent of the buttons found on the Torch 9860. We especially like how the keys just seem to curve and fall off the edges.
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Bold 9790 battery cover
The battery cover has a soft-touch finish that is pleasant to hold and provides enough grip to prevent the phone from slipping out of our hands.
The onboard 5-megapixel autofocus camera comes with a flash and records VGA videos.
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Bold 9790 bottom
You'll find the charging port on the bottom of the phone, which makes it easier to use the handset while it's plugged in. In terms of storage, you'll get 8GB of internal memory, expandable up to 32GB via a microSD slot.
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Bold 9790 side
The volume rocker and shortcut key on the side of the phone are protruding narrow ridges. This may cause some discomfort when holding the phone for a long phone call, but we'll find out in our in-depth review pretty soon.
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How does the Bold 9790 stack up against earlier BlackBerry models, in terms of size? From left to right: Bold 9700, Bold 9900, Bold 9790.
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Bold 9790 vs. 9700
The Bold 9790 is lighter and slimmer, and it has a faster processor, clocked at 1GHz, compared with the 9700's 624MHz.
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Bold 9900 next to 9790
The Bold 9900 is definitely bigger than the 9790, due to its wider form factor. The bumpers on the Bold 9790 lack the premium feel of the 9900's brushed-metal finish.
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Baby got back?
From faux leather (Bold 9700) to "glass weave technology" (Bold 9900) and now soft touch, the back covers of these Berrys have seen many iterations.
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BlackBerry Bold 9790 vs. 9700
The Bold 9790 is noticeably slimmer than the 9700, and it feels more tapered at the edges.
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BlackBerry Bold 9790 vs. 9900
So which Bold design do you like most? RIM has announced that the Bold 9790 will be available in Indonesia on November 26, with the first 1,000 customers getting a 50 percent discount off the estimated retail price of $515. Pricing and availability for other countries have yet not been announced, so check with your carrier.
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BlackBerry Curve 9380
In Jakarta, we also caught a peek of the Curve 9380, the first all-touch Curve device. The Curve series has always consisted of entry-level handsets, such as the 8520.
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BlackBerry Curve 9380 touch screen
The 3.2-inch touch screen shares the same resolution as the Bold 9790: 480x360 pixels.
When asked if RIM will drop its traditional QWERTY keyboards for future smartphones using the BBX operating system, Chiarello assured us that this is not the case. "Not a chance," he said--but we definitely haven't seen the last of all-touch BlackBerry handhelds.
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Curve 9380 micro-USB
Like the Bold 9790, the Curve 9380's micro-USB port is located at the bottom of the phone.
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Curve 9380 lock button and jack
We like the clean look and feel of the lock button and 3.5mm audio jack.
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Curve 9380 profile
The slim profile of the 9380 ensures that it sits comfortably in small hands.
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Back is fingerprint magnet
The BlackBerry Curve 9380's onboard 5-megapixel autofocus camera comes with a flash and records VGA videos. Chiarello says the demand for non-camera versions of current models has decreased, as it is possible to disable/enable a BlackBerry camera directly via BlackBerry Enterprise Server. As a result, we may not see many more non-camera handsets from RIM, unless operators request for it.