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RIM launches BlackBerry Bold 9780

Canada’s Research in Motion took the wraps off its new BlackBerry Bold 9780 smartphone, and updated version of the BlackBerry Bold 9700 that features an improved camera, more memory, and the same “premium” design and finish that RIM hopes will appeal to media-savvy mobile users eager who view smartphones as social and entertainment tools rather than stodgy QWERTY-equipped tethers back to a corporate headquarters. The BlackBerry Bold 9780 features a five megapixel camera with image stabilization, HSDPA support for high-speed mobile broadband, a 2.44-inch 480 by 360-pixel display, and (of course) the signature BlackBerry QWERTY keypad for mail and messaging. And the Bold 9780 is the first BlackBerry to ship with RIM’s latest BlackBerry OS 6, featuring a WebKit-driven Web browser, revamped interface, and social media tools.

“We are very excited to introduce the BlackBerry Bold 9780 featuring the new BlackBerry 6 operating system,” said RIM VP for product management Carlo Chiarello, in a statement. “This new model builds on the highly refined mobile experience that BlackBerry Bold users already know and love.”

Under the hood, the Bold 9780 features a 624 MHz processor, 512 MB of flash memory, and a microSDHC memory card slot for up to 32 GB of removable storage. The unit also features a built-in GPS for location-based services and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi with UMA support for Wi-Fi calling (where available). The five megapixel camera has image stabilization, flash, and auto focus, along with scene modes and video recording capability.

BlackBerry OS 6 includes improved tools for managing Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other social services, along with integrated access to BlackBerry Messenger and integrated RSS feed management. BlackBerry OS 6 also features a dedicated YouTube application, redesigned Pictures and Music applications for handling media, and (of course) access to RIM’s BlackBerry App World for expanding a phone’s capabilities.

RIM says the BlackBerry Bold 9780 will be available from “various carriers” worldwide beginning in November. T-Mobile will be offering the Bold 9780 starting November 17 for $129.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a two-year service agreement, and unconfirmed reports also have the phone going to AT&T in a similar timeframe.

[Update: RIM has sent amended specs for the BlackBerry Bold 9780: it has 512 MB of storage with additional microSDHC removal storage. Initially RIM indicated the device had 4 GB of onboard storage.]