Thursday, August 4, 2011

BlackBerry Media event: Live coverage -


We're covering BlackBerry's event live - here's the skinny fresh from London. RIM announced five new Berries, or three distinct phones, if you don't count the GSM/CDMA versions separately. Meet the new Bold Touch, Torch and (a different) Torch models, all with BB OS 7, fast processors, high-ppi screens and NFC.

The BlackBerry Media Event is off to a start here in London
The BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 (GSM/CDMA versions) is the thinnest phone that RIM ever produced (10.5mm). Like the other new models, the Bold 9900 is running BlackBerry OS 7 on a 1.2GHz single-core processor and 768MB RAM.
It packs a portrait QWERTY keyboard and a 287ppi screen above it. The Bold 9900 has excellent connectivity with HSPA+ (14.4Mbps downlink), Wi-Fi, GPS and NFC support (one of the BB OS 7 highlights is NFC support).

The camera on the Bold Touch is a 5MP unit with 720p video recording.

RIM announces the BB Bold 9900, the BB Torch 9860 and the BB Torch 9810
Next up is the new BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860 (again, GSM/CDMA). Previously rumored simply as BlackBerry Touch, this model is all touchscreen - it has a 3.7" display with 15:9 aspect ratio and 253ppi. This Torch is 11.5mm thick.
Finally, there's the new BlackBerry Torch 9810, which has an updated screen compared to the original. The new one packs 253ppi, same as the other new Torches.
The two new Torch models - 9850/9860 and 9810 come with 1.2GHz processors with 768MB RAM and NFC, of course. RIM was also keen to talk about the advantages of BlackBerry OS 7.
The new models are expected to launch in September.
RIM also talked at length about the new BlackBerry OS 7 - they announced it a while back, but made sure to remind us of how smooth and responsive the new Liquid graphics are.

The new BB OS 7 is RIM's most advanced mobile OS iteration with a host of welcome enhancements
The new browser is also a serious improvement over the previous version - RIM claim it offers best in class HTML5 support and JavaScript performance, and has competitive page load times. It's also 40% faster than the browser in BB OS 6. A while back, they even put it up against the iOS and Android browser and it came out on top, taking just 2.84 seconds to complete the SunSpider test.
BlackBerry Messenger 6 is also part of the new software package - it concentrates heavily on SNS stuff and makes it easier for devs to integrate it into their apps.
Wikitude, the Artificial Reality browser is also coming to BlackBerry and ties in neatly with BBM 6, now you'll be able to see any of your nearby BBM contacts in real time.
RIM shared some interesting statistics that are worth mentioning. There are 60,000 NFC-enabled locations in London alone. 11% of the UK's population, that's 7 million people, are using a BlackBerry. They're also growing in emerging markets like East Africa, where they got 1 million new users in just 3 weeks.

Hand's On

RIM's event is over - here are our impressions of the new devices, whilst they're still fresh in our minds.

The three new models - two Torches and a Bold Touch

BlackBerry Bold 9900

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the thinnest by RIM, though at 10.5mm it's not the thinnest smartphone in the world. Still, the 2.8" VGA screen packs plenty of pixels per inch and more power than BB owners are used to - 1.2GHz and 768MB RAM. It's running the new BlackBerry OS 7 and packs NFC connectivity. A 5MP camera on the back of the device can record 720p videos.
There is a Bold 9930 too, which is the CDMA version of the phone.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 hands-on photos

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 packs double the number of pixels on its 3.2" screen that the original Torch had (VGA vs. HVGA, so 253ppi in total). It too comes with a 1.2GHz single core processor and 768MB RAM and records 720p video through its 5MP camera (the original did just VGA videos).
The signature slide-out QWERTY is present and is very similar to that of the original.

BlackBerry Torch 9810 hands-on photos

BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860

The Torch line has been updated with a full-touch device, which lacks the slide-out QWERTY keyboard of the Torch 9810. The Torch 9850/9860 are the CDMA/GSM versions of the phones respectively.
The screen is bigger than the screens of other Berries - 3.7 inches in diagonal and WVGA resolution. Just like the other three models, the Torch 9850/9860 packs a 5MP camera with 720p video, 1.2GHz CPU with 768MB RAM and runs BB OS 7. There's NFC connectivity as well - RIM seems to be betting big on this.

BlackBerry Torch 9860 hands-on photos
We also managed to snap a camera sample with the 9860 Torch - the lighting was less than ideal, but the camera sure shows promise.

BlackBerry Torch 9860 camera sample
Head on over to the next page to see our hands on video footage.

Video Coverage


To round off the event we also got a little hands on time with a couple of the devices on show. Namely the Bold 9900 and the Torch 9860. As you'll see the focus is more on what BB OS 7 brings to the table but at the same time, you get an idea of the snappy UI and you can see the work RIM has put into making navigating a next-gen BlackBerry a slicker experience.
First off the Bold 9900 in the hands of a RIM representative who takes us through the new look Facebook and Wikitude apps to show off a little more of that augmented reality goodness.

Secondly the Torch 9860 shows us a little video playback, the image gallery and the new and improved BB OS 7 web browser.

If you want to know a little more about the press event at the start of the whole morning, below is the slideshow featured from Blackberry's own slide share, enjoy.

Click here to watch the slideshow

That brings the excitement of today sadly, to a close, but now we have three (read five) new devices to look forward to in stores in certain markets as early as September. No doubt we'll bring you more content when these new Berries make it to our office for a full review.
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