RIM announces two new BlackBerry Bold smartphones

The 9900 and the 9930 have the new BlackBerry 7 OS, improved browser

Blackberry Bold 9900
Research In Motion announced the BlackBerry Bold 9900, and a related phone, the 9930. Both run the new BlackBerry 7 operating system and are RIM's thinnest and most powerful phones to date.

Research In Motion on Monday announced two new BlackBerry Bold smartphones that run on the new BlackBerry 7 operating system and include support for near field communication (NFC) technology.

The Bold 9900 and 9930 are the thinnest (10.5mm, or about four-tenths of an inch) and most powerful (with 1.2GHz processors) smartphones yet from RIM, which opened its biggest annual conference in Orlando on Monday. RIM officials had promised to deliver more NFC phones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

Pricing was not announced, but both smartphones are due to be available through wireless carriers globally this summer. Interested users can register for more information on RIM's BlackBerry Bold website.

The new BlackBerry 7 operating system is designed to be faster and easier to use, with improved browsing, support for voice searches and tools that enable users to manage their personal content and work-related content separately.

RIM has previously said that the ability to keep personal content separate from business content gives IT managers a way to easily deal with the data on smartphones used by employees who leave the company. With that feature, it's possible to delete corporate data from a device but leave personal files, such as photos and music, for the user to keep.

BlackBerry 7 also includes a full version of Docs to Go for using Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly on the smartphone.

Browsing on BlackBerry devices has long been a big disappointment for most users, but RIM claims it has made improvements in that area with BlackBerry 7, offering faster rendering and improved panning and zooming. BlackBerry 7 also has a just-in-time JavaScript compiler to improve the load time for Web pages. The browser also has support for HTML5, including HTML5 video.

Both Bold smartphones have 2.8-in. touchscreens as well as physical qwerty keyboards with optical trackpads. They are equipped with 1.2GHz processors and weigh about 4.5 oz. The phones are built for easy data storage, with 8GB internal storage and a microSD slot that can support cards that hold up to 32GB.

Each phone has a 5-megapixel camera that supports 720p high-definition video recording. The 9900 is a tri-band phone for use on HSPA+ and GSM/EDGE networks, while the 9930 is a dual-band CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A, dual-band HSPA+ and quad-band GSM/EDGE device.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon