By Corey A. Washington –
It’s been a long time since the words “BlackBerry” and “excitement” could be found together in the same sentence. It’s no secret Research In Motion (RIM) lost much of its fanfare -- not to mention market share -- in the current Android-Apple dominated smartphone market. But for anyone counting RIM out of the game, low and behold three good reasons to take another look at the BlackBerry.
RIM threw heavy fire power into the smartphone war with the release of the new BlackBerry Bold 9930, Torch 9810 and Torch 9850 within the same week, all running BlackBerry’s newly-released OS 7, replacing OS 6.5. Many have considered OS 7’s upgrade from 6.5 to be mostly skin deep changes, but dive in further and you’ll see several improvements over the previous interface. Blackberry OS 7, however, isn’t a major leap forward. Sharp criticism has been aimed at RIM for not seriously overhauling the OS, but I can’t help but think why such a dramatic shift is necessary for such a capable OS. The upgraded OS 7 feels familiar to previous iterations, but still up to date. If the OS isn’t enough to move consumers, some of the hardware might do the trick.
BlackBerry Bold 9930: If sexy came in a phone, it would be the new 9930. It’s one of the sleekest, sharply-designed smartphones to ever hold the BlackBerry name -- and one of the most gorgeous of all the QWERTY’s on the market. If this handset’s sheer beauty wasn’t enough, RIM made a wise choice incorporating a touch screen into its traditional design of the 9000 series. This device sports a 640 x 480 pixel resolution on a 2.8 inch display. The resolution may not be ahead of the curve, but on such a relatively small screen, images come across fairly crisp and clear. The 9930 packs plenty of muscle too with a 1.2 Ghz processor and 768MB of RAM. It includes 8GB internal storage and up to 32GB of external store thanks to a MiscroSD slot. The phone also now captures 720p video with its camera. The phone lacks 4G, which you might expect on a high-end phone in this emerging 4G world, but its dual-band capabilities arguably make up for this shortcoming.
Torch 9810: If the new Torch seems like it could be confused for its predecessor, you’re not alone. Minor changes to the newest Torch include a metallic-brushed trim and pattern-design on the back cover. Both make for tasteful, minor improvements, but don’t make the BlackBerry Torch 9810 seem like its undergone a serious makeover. The smartphone employs the same dimensions as the previous Torch, including the 3.2 inch screen. The resolution has been bumped up, as it now uses the same 640 x 480 resolution found on the Bold 9930. It also shares the same processing power and RAM as its sibling, giving the phone more of a premium feel this time around. The similarities include 8GB of internal storage and external storage up to 32GB. It also shares the ability to capture 720p video. Clearly, while cosmetic changes to the phone aren’t aplenty, the Torch moves up the food chain with more hardware changes than expected.
Torch 9850: Call me clueless, but I’m still scratching my head trying to understand the reason for these two Torch phones. While it’s nothing new to have two phones share the same name brand, ala the HTC EVO and the HTC EVO Shift, it comes off as an odd choice since it seems more common for full-touch screen phones to later receive a QWERTY variant. My immediate reaction was “Is this the new BlackBerry Storm?”, followed up with “Hey, what happened to the BlackBerry Storm?”. It’s understandable if it doesn’t seem like it’s in the “Torch” lineage considering it carries almost no resemblance in design to the 9810 or the previous Torch. But, what’s in a name, I guess? The 9850 also doesn’t seem as grown up as the 9810 as it only includes 4GB of internal storage, but the same processor and RAM is carried over. Other differences include a 3.7 inch screen WVGA screen, which is relatively responsive to touch. It’s not quite clear where the Torch 9850 fits in the equation of BlackBerry’s new suite of phones, but it is still a solid showing by RIM.
RIM’s latest entourage of smartphones continues to show BlackBerry is relevant and capable in the smartphone war. Whether it's enough to put BlackBerry in a more competitive position remains to be seen.
Corey Washington is a contributing writer covering technology for Black Voice News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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