RIM today launched its new family of smartphones, adding to the existing Bold and Torch ranges, with a new high-end Torch with a large all-touch design.
The five new phones are the already announced Bold 9900 and 9930, a new version of the existing Torch 9800, the Torch 9810, and the Torch 9850 and Torch 9860 models with a huge 3.7-inch touchscreen and no keyboard.
All of the new devices also come with BlackBerry OS 7, which includes support for NFC, a new browser with HTML 5 support and optimisations for improved gaming and video experiences.
OS 7 also sees the inclusion of the premium version of Documents To Go included free of charge, plus the pre-loading of BlackBerry Protect that can remotely back up your device data and lock or wipe data if your BlackBerry is lost or stolen. BlackBerry Balance lets you switch between work and personal usage, without compromising on safety set up for business email and applications.
Another feature on all of the new devices is the 1.2GHz processor, HD video recording and 24-bit (16.8 million colours) graphics. New sensors allow for the use of augmented reality applications in conjunction with the improved cameras.
So far Three has announced it will be stocking the Bold 9900 (free on a £35 per month contract, or £449 on prepay), while Virgin Media will have the Torch 9810 ‘later in the year’.
High-street and online retailer Phones 4u has stated it will have stock of the Bold 9900 from August 18th. Carphone Warehouse will also be stocking the 9900 the same time.
What Mobile contributor David Phelan attended the event and gives his opinion:
Billed as the biggest launch BlackBerry has ever had, there’s no denying the company was in bullish mood, proudly asserting that 11% of the UK population has a BlackBerry handset and that it’s still the biggest smartphone brand in the country.
But although five phones were listed, only three are UK releases (the other two are CDMA variants) and one, the Bold 9900, was already announced back in May.
Still, the Bold Touch (as we used to call it) is highly desirable: sleek, slim and very tactile, it combines a great Qwerty keypad with responsive touchscreen – handy if you’ve found yourself tapping a BlackBerry screen in the past until you remembered it wasn’t touch-sensitive.
The Bold also has NFC, unlike the other models announced. The company has big plans here and not just for reading smart tags on buildings, but for secure contactless payments and even secure entry of buildings!
All the screens have fast-response touchscreens, with the most interesting being the Torch 9860, an iPhone wannabe with a long, immersive screen and a touchscreen keypad much improved over the Storm models.
The Torch 8910 is identical in size to the current Torch but, like all the phones here, benefits from the speedy 1.2GHz processor and the Liquid Graphics (which are as slick as they sound) and fast browser which is central to BlackBerry 7 OS.
Our predictions: BlackBerry diehards will go for the Bold 9900, while disillusioned Android users will snap up the Torch 9860. The Torch 8910 slider will attract users who don’t mind a big phone in their pocket, but still require that all-important BlackBerry keyboard.