Verizon Wireless has announced it will be offering the BlackBerry Bold 9930 smartphone for sale starting August 25 for $249.99 with a new two-year service agreement and qualifying service plan. The BlackBerry Bold 9930 features both a touch-sensitive screen and RIM’s famous QWERTY keypad for messaging, along with BlackBerry OS 7, including improved HTM5 Web browsing and BlackBerry Balance, a new OS utility that enables BlackBerry users to quickly toggle between business and personal use of the device.
As smartphones go these days, the BOld 9930’s screen may not seem like such a big deal: it’s a 2.8 inches and offers just 640 by 480-pixel resolution: a far cry from smartphones and other device offering HD video support. However, under the hood, the Bold 9930 sports a 1.2 GHz processor along with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, a 5 megapixel camera that can shoot 720p high-definition video, integrated GPS, and microSD removable storage that can handle up to 32 GB cards. The phone of course sports BlackBerry’s much-loved QWERTY keypad—and it’s backlit just in case users need to message in the dark.
The device runs on Verizon’s 3G network (no LTE here), and includes quad-band support for UMTS/HSPA, GSM, GPRS, and EDGE networking so customers with appropriate data and roaming plans can get mobile service in more than 200 countries, including 125 with 3G service. An over-the-air software update will also enable a Push-to-Talk capability in the phones—although neither RIM nor Verizon Wireless have said when that might land.
BlackBerry OS 7—expected to be the company’s last major revision to the BlackBerry OS before it switches over to an entirely QNX-based platform—features optimized HTML5 browsing, the latest BlackBerry Messenger, universal voice-activated searching, an updated Social Feeds app that rolls together social media, podcasts, and more, and new Liquid Graphics technology that should enable fast performance for games and other media. The BlackBerry Bold 9930 will also ship with the premium version of Documents To Go, offering editing and viewer features for common document formats (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.).
The BlackBerry Bold 9930 is one of a swath of new BlackBerry devices that RIM hopes will serve as a turnaround for the company as it struggles against stiff competition from the likes of the Apple iPhone and Android-based smartphones. However, RIM likely still faces an uphill battle as enterprises increasingly embrace consumer smartphones, and RIM’s core enterprise market may soon come under attack from the Microsoft/Nokia alliance on Windows Phone 7. And RIM’s latest products aren’t necessarily resonating with customers: Sprint just announced it’s not going to offer a 4G-enabled version of RIM’s PlayBook tablet.