RIM announces new BlackBerry Bold smartphone

The Bold 9900 will run the new BlackBerry OS 7 and include an improved browser and NFC support

Research in Motion announced a new BlackBerry Bold smartphone on Monday that will run the new BlackBerry 7 operating system and include near field communication (NFC) support.

The Bold 9900 is the thinnest (10.5 mm, about 0.4 of an inch) and most powerful (with 1.2GHz processors) yet from RIM, which opened its biggest annual conference in Orlando on Monday. RIM officials promised more NFC phones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

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Pricing was not announced, but the smartphone is due from carriers globally this summer.

The new BlackBerry OS 7 -- previously named BlackBerry OS 6.1 -- is designed for an easier and faster user experience with improved browsing, voice searches, and the ability to manage a user's personal content separate from the user's corporate content. RIM has previously described this separation of personal and business-related content as an effective means of allowing IT managers to easily strip off corporate content from the smartphone if the employee departs the company, leaving all the personal photos and music intact for the user to keep.

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

Browsing on BlackBerry devices has long been a big disappointment for most users and RIM claimed the service has been enhanced in BlackBerry OS 7 with faster rendering and improved panning and zooming. It 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.

The Bold 9900 smartphone will have 2.8-in. touchscreen as well as physical Qwerty keyboards with optical trackpads. It will run on 1.2GHz processors and weigh about 130 grams (4.5 ounces). The phones are built for easy data storage, with 8GB internal and a MicroSD slot that can support a card of up to 32GB.

A 5-megapixel camera in each supports 720p HD videorecording. The Bold 9900 will have two models: The 9900 is a tri-band phone for HSPA+ and GSM/EDGE for GSM carriers such as T-Mobile and AT&T, while the 9930 is a dual-band CDMA/EVDO Rev. A, dual-band HSPA+, and quad-band GSM/EDGE "world" device for CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

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 email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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This story, "RIM announces new BlackBerry Bold smartphone" was originally published by Computerworld.