RIM to release 5 new touch-screen BlackBerry smartphones this month


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Research in Motion announced five new BlackBerry smartphones, the first to run its new BlackBerry 7 mobile OS, on Wednesday in a bid to recapture market share and inject some new excitement into the company’s products.

The new smartphones, RIM’s first new handsets in nearly a year, each utilize touch screens and include two new BlackBerry Bold models and three new iterations of the BlackBerry Torch and are set to hit carriers such as AT&T and Sprint this month.


The devices will arrive at an important time for the Canadian company, one of the first to popularize email integration on a phone.

Last month, RIM announced that it was cutting 2,000 jobs and shuffling some of its top executives into new roles in a reboot to better combat the Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone, which have been eating into BlackBerry market share for months. In June, RIM also reported a 12% drop in quarterly revenue during its fiscal first quarter.

The new BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 phones are RIM’s thinnest to date at 0.41 of an inch, and each version features a 2.4-inch touchscreen sitting on top of a full physical keyboard.

Both models come with a 5-megapixel camera that can also shoot 720p video, 8 gigabytes of memory that can be expanded with a memory card and run on 3G networks.

The three new BlackBerry Torch models feature larger touch screens than the Bold phones, but the Torch 9810 adds a slide-out keyboard and can run on 4G networks.

With a 3.2-inch display, the Torch 9810 looks a lot like the older Torch 9800, but the new model adds a higher-resolution screen (up to 640 by 480 from 480 by 360), longer battery life and 8 gigabytes of on-board memory instead of 4 gigabytes.


The Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones have no physical keyboards and instead go full touch screen with a 3.7-inch display with a resolution of 800 by 480. RIM says it’s the largest on a BlackBerry phone so far. The 9850 and 9860 feature 4 gigabytes of memory, but can be expanded to up to 32 gigabytes of memory with a MicroSD card.

The Torch 9860 will run on 4G networks, while the 9850 will stick with 3G service.

‘This is the largest global launch of BlackBerry smartphones in our history,’ Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s president and co-CEO, said in a statement. ‘The BlackBerry solution offers a best-in-class mobile communications experience that customers love, and we think they will be thrilled by the faster performance, enhanced browsing and richer multimedia delivered by these powerful new BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Torch smartphones.’

Leave a comment and tell us whether or not you think RIM’s newest touch-screen-centric BlackBerry phones have what it takes to fight off Android, the iPhone and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles