1. the_sleuth's Avatar
    New thinner, RIM smartphones shine

    By Marc Saltzman | Fri Aug 19 2011

    After spending nearly a week with three of Research in Motions (RIM) new BlackBerry smartphones its clear the new hardware will impress current users itching for an upgrade, but wont likely woo new customers away from their iPhone, Android or Windows Phone 7 device.

    A lot rides on these new smartphones, as the once-mighty Waterloo Ont. company attempts to regain lost market share, falling profits and a stock value thats a fraction at what it was in 2008. RIM has suffered through highly-publicized layoffs, executive departures and is still rebounding from a less-than-stellar launch of its first tablet the BlackBerry PlayBook.

    Powered by its new BlackBerry 7 operating system (OS) these new smartphones might not single handedly save RIM but will likely keep loyal consumers and businesses from abandoning the platform.

    BlackBerry Bold 9900

    The most impressive perhaps is the Bold 9900 ($149.99 to $199.99 on 3-year term with Bell Rogers or Telus). The one-piece smartphone offers the biggest physical keyboard on a Bold to date ideal for those who do a lot of typing as well as a touchscreen display.

    At 10.5mm, the Bold 9900 is also the thinnest BlackBerry to date. Once seasoned BlackBerry users start playing around with the new device the faster speeds will be evident; the Bold 9900 has a 1.2-Gigahertz processor and new graphics processor which lets you zip between programs and media much easier (RIM says performance is roughly 40 percent faster than BlackBerry 6 OS phones and that feels about right).

    Web browsing is also better one of the common complaints of the BlackBerry but while it supports websites built with HTML5 it still doesnt work with Flash (like the iPhone).

    While it wont be utilized for some time, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is also RIMs first device with Near Field Communication or NFC, which turns the smartphone into a digital wallet of sorts. One day you might be swiping the smartphone on a retail checkout counter or at a vending machine to pay for items. NFC which is also in some Android phones and rumoured to be in the iPhone 5 can also be used to easily exchange contact information between smartphone users among other applications.

    Finally, the Bold has a new HD video camera (720p quality) but still lacks a front-facing camera for video calls something most new smartphones offer.

    BlackBerry Torch 9810 and BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860

    A couple of new BlackBerry Torch smartphones are now available providing an update to last years introductory model.

    At first glance, the BlackBerry Torch 9810 ($129.99 to $199.99 on 3-year Bell Telus or Rogers plan) looks identical to its predecessor except for a textured silver back instead of a black one. It features a 3.2-inch touchscreen but is now high-resolution and features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for texting, emailing or instant messaging (ideal for BlackBerry Messenger).

    Along with the higher-quality screen and 1.2 GHz speeds this smartphone benefits from the BlackBerry 7 OS improvements such as a better browser experience voice-activated universal search and a premium version of Documents To Go to create and edit documents spreadsheets and presentations.

    The upcoming BlackBerry Torch 9850 (price availability and carriers are still to be determined) on the other hand, is an all-touch 3.7-inch BlackBerry the largest screen on a BlackBerry designed for those who enjoy web browsing or consuming media be it games videos photos or electronic books. Its attractive and feels quite nice in the hand offers the faster speeds and graphics processor as the other new smartphones and enjoys all of the above mentioned benefits packed into the new operating system.

    While RIMs unrivaled security comfortable keyboard and BBM are its saving graces applications (apps) are still one of the companys weakest links. Not only does the App World have a lot fewer programs to download than the competition - 35000 to 40000 compared to 500000 or so for Apples App Store and about 250000 for the Android Market but theyre generally more expensive not as easy to find and only a small fraction of the apps will work with the new BlackBerry 7 OS devices at launch.

    Summary

    RIM is moving in the right direction with these new devices, but it might not be enough to fight back in this fiercely competitive space. Not only is Googles Android platform enjoying tremendous momentum but the US $12.5B acquisition of Motorola likely has RIM concerned as should Microsofts strategic partnership with Nokia. And with Apples much-hyped iPhone 5 in the wings its going to be a heated battle well into 2012.

    Complicating matters perhaps is the fact RIM is readying smartphones based on its QNX platformthe same technology powering its PlayBook tabletbut what does that mean for those who buy a BlackBerry 7 OS device today and have a 3-year commitment with a carrier? And what if the App World apps wont work with the QNX platform?

    Hopefully,RIM is fleshing out an aggressive and impressive road map to not just hold onto what market share it has left but grow it once again.

    New thinner, RIM smartphones shine - Moneyville.ca
    Jake Storm likes this.
    08-20-11 06:41 PM
  2. guerllamo7's Avatar
    Honestly, although I was sporting a Torch (which got me to come back to Blackberry), when friends would ask me what to buy I really did not feel it would be appropriate to recommend a Blackberry because the old BB's were somewhat underpowered (even the Torch 1-although I love it) and had a slower browser than BB just seemed to fall asleep on their laurels of better security, e-mail and messaging.
    However, now, with these new phones I have already gotten two people to switch back with me to BB, one friend to upgrade his old BB and one friend to go from a dumb phone to the new Torch (I mean, it is selling for 49.00 bucks!).

    I believe the new BB's really are world class for all the good old reasons, which are relevant. However, they are so much more:
    1.Better, way better browsing experience.
    2.World phone at all carriers. No hassles when traveling.
    3.NFC - this is going to be big and BB has the security to really capitalize on this.
    4.Much faster processor. 20% faster than the iPhone. Not the fastest compared to the new droids, but the BB will not drop dead at mid-day like the HTC Evo 4G and others.
    5.Great screen resolution and 720p HD video.

    There are still some shortcomings compared to iPhone and Droids, such as downloading movies and the number of apps but really, it is not hard to get movies into BB's via desktop and I have all the apps I need at 40k apps. and more coming daily.

    Bottom line. BB users love their BB's and now we truly can be good friends and recommend the new BB's. The pros are significantly greater than the cons in my view. Besides, the physical keyboard allows for awesome shortcuts and many, many other benefits.

    If each BB user in the U.S. just introduced one person to their BB that would DOUBLE BB's in the U.S. Since they are so awesome that will be easy. RIMM is going bonkers overseas growing at 60% last quarter y/y. so if sales in the U.S. improve, the company will finally shut up all the naysayers.

    I have already gotten 3 new users (2 former droids and 1 dumb phone) and 1 upgrade in addition to my upgrade from the Torch to Bold 9930. Feels good to see Blackberry making a comeback.

    Not everyone will be interested in the new BB's and that is cool but I know many will be and for good reason.

    My count is 3 new BB users plus my own upgrade.
    08-20-11 07:14 PM
  3. NFLPLAYBOOK's Avatar
    All the reviews I've read say the new phones are a great improvement. I hope RIM keeps up the momentum.
    Last edited by NFLPLAYBOOK; 08-20-11 at 10:31 PM.
    08-20-11 10:25 PM
  4. kevinnugent's Avatar
    He's saying it doesn't work with flash.... Like the iPhone doesn't work with flash.

    Overall, I'd say it's a fair assessment. Not enough to gain customers, but enough to stem the flow for a few months.
    08-20-11 10:32 PM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD