Representing an evolution of the existing Blackberry 8800 series devices rather than a revolutionary new handset, the BlackBerry Bold (also called the BlackBerry 9000) combines GPS, WiFi and 3G support in a classic BlackBerry layout, with a number of other enhancements to make the 9000 a pretty desirable upgrade for existing BlackBerry users.
Before we get into the technical details, it is worth having a look at the BlackBerry Bold’s design. Owing rather more to the stylish BlackBerry Curve than the old 8800, with a glossy front with chrome highlights and a leather effect back, The handset is more curved than the old 8800, and the QWERTY keypad has been tidied up too.
As we mentioned before, under the hood the BlackBerry bold has WiFi and 3G with HSDPA support for high-speed downloads. The 9000 supports tri-band UMTS 850 / 1900 / 2100 MHz with quad-band GSM, GPRS and EDGE data. This means that the BlackBerry Bold 9000 can access high-speed data pretty much anywhere in the world. Unusually, the 9000 supports 802.11a WiFi as well as the more common b and g varieties. 802.11a is rarely found in the home, but is often used in corporate environments.One annoying feature on some older BlackBerry devices was that you could have WiFi or GPS but not both. The 9000 rectifies this by adding a GPS receiver as standard.
Another new feature is the “half VGA” 480 x 320 pixel display. We can’t think of any other manufacturer that is using this at the moment, but the higher resolution combined with some new technical wizardry with the 9000′s panel means that this look to be a very promising display. Remember, the display on the 9000 is not a touchscreen, but the trackball is easy enough to use once you have gotten used to it.
The software has also been upgraded, and the 9000 now runs BlackBerry OS 4.6. The interface looks sleeker and less busy than older BlackBerries, and it gives the device a more polished look which should help to compete against the iPhone generation.Internal memory is an impressive 1GB, and the 9000 can be expanded using microSD cards with a theoretical maximum of 16GB. On the back of the Bold is a pretty basic 2 megapixel camera with a flash, and there’s no video calling camera. This isn’t really marketed as an imaging phone.
Of course, the 9000 Bold offers excellent email support and it also comes with a web browser and document editor. Multimedia support is good, and the 9000 comes with a graphics equaliser with several present functions depending on the type of music you are listening to. The BlackBerry Bold supports stereo Bluetooth.
It is almost exactly the same size and weight as the 8800, with the 9000 weighing in at 133 grams and 114 x 66 x 13mm in size. The large capacity 1500 mAh battery can drive the Bold for up to 5 hours talktime and 13 days standby time.
We don’t have specific details on pricing or availability, but RIM say that the BlackBerry Bold 9000 should be available during the summer of 2008.RIM BlackBerry Bold 9000 at a glance
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 +
UMTS 850 / 1900 / 2100
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSDPA + WiFi
480 x 320 pixels
114 x 66 x 13mm / 134 grams
5 hours talk / 13 days standby