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RIM debuts 3 new BlackBerry touch phones to compete with the iPhone (pictures and specs)


In a series of press releases today, RIM has revealed more about its BlackBerry 7 OS and given us a good look at the first three phones that will run on the new operating system: the BlackBerry Bold 9900, the BlackBerry Torch 9810, and the BlackBerry Torch 9850. Yes, the names are so boring and difficult to remember that we’re having trouble remembering which is which, but the phones are using a new interface modeled after RIM’s BlackBerry Tablet OS, which RIM hopes will help it better compete with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android phones.

BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930

The Bold 9900 was unveiled back in May, but RIM has released some better images and more detailed specs on the device, which has a nice stainless steel frame. Following the traditional design of the Bold line, the 9900 has a 2.8-inch 640×480 (VGA) screen with a full QWERTY keyboard in tow. The device has a 1.2GHz processor, 8GB of onboard storage and a MicroSD card slot if you want more. The rear camera is 5MP (no front camera) and it can record 720p video. We also know from the unveiling that the phone will include a NFC chip, which means it could be used as a wireless credit card, assuming RIM has a plan to utilize this technology on a broad scale. The phone will support 3G on Sprint and AT&T. 


BlackBerry Torch 9810

Following the Torch, which came with BB OS6 last year, the Torch 9810 has a 3.2-inch “high resolution” touchscreen (no actual resolution is given), a 5MP rear camera with autofocus and “HD” video recording (no specifics given), and a vertical slide-out QWERTY keyboard. RIM has improved the processing speed of the new Torch, up from 600MHz to 1.2GHz, likely responding to complaints that the last one was rather sluggish. It doesn’t appear that the new phone will have a front-facing camera, so all of you video chatting business executives may want to look elsewhere. 


BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860

Finally, the Torch 9850 is the first decent looking fully-touch phone from RIM. The phone has a 3.7-inch screen, which is the largest of any BlackBerry smartphone, but relatively small compared to the 4.3-inch Android phones that dominate the market. The phone comes with Liquid Graphics technology, which supposedly means that the screen will be more responsive, a 1.2GHz processor, and 4GB of internal storage with a MicroSD slot if you need it. Like the other models, it will have a 5MP rear camera with autofocus, but doesn’t appear to have a front-facing camera. 


BlackBerry 7

RIM claims that BlackBerry 7 will redefine the platform, offering much better web browsing and 40 percent better performance than BlackBerry 6 smartphones. It doesn’t, however, mention if the phone will utilize gestures in the fluid and intuitive way that the BlackBerry PlayBook does. We don’t yet know more about the OS or how it differs, but look forward to trying it out soon.

Check out more pictures of the new BlackBerry smartphones.

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Jeffrey Van Camp
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As DT's Deputy Editor, Jeff helps oversee editorial operations at Digital Trends. Previously, he ran the site's…
T-Mobile tells its BlackBerry users to buy iPhones, then apologizes
T-Mobile CEO John Legere

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The spat between T-Mobile and BlackBerry began when T-Mobile emailed its BlackBerry customers to suggest they switch to an iPhone 5S. Somebody at BlackBerry got the email and BB 's head honcho, John Chen, took to his company's blog to denounce T-Mobile's marketing tactic, calling it "inappropriate and ill-conceived."
Feeling the heat from this backlash, Mike Sievert, T-Mobile's Chief Marketing Officer, acknowledged that the company heard Chen, and plenty others, loud and clear. "The passion we've seen from the BlackBerry Loyal over the past couple days has been amazing," wrote Sievert. "I want you to know we've heard you."
In a 633-word blog post, Sievert outlined T-Mobile's plan to make sure the BlackBerry faithful are content. If you want to upgrade to any phone sold by T-Mobile, you can trade-in your BlackBerry in exchange for $200 credit toward any manufacturer's phone. If, on the other hand, you want to upgrade to a BlackBerry Q10 or Z10, an additional $50 in credit is tacked on.
This offer applies for T-Mobile stores, but if you can't find the BlackBerry device you want in-store, the company offers free expedited shipping for that device.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere joined his Chief Marketing Officer in trying to change the company's tune towards BlackBerry, saying that T-Mobile is focused on "choice and freedom." In the process though, Legere managed to sneak in a toasty burn:

Was going to engage John Chen on Twitter, but turns out he’s not here. I'll check MySpace. Don’t worry @BlackBerry Something in the works!
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 19, 2014

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How To Download BBM For Android, iPhone
BlackBerry provided instructions for how to download BBM. They're pretty straightforward, though a little unconventional. BBM fans, you can head over to the official BBM site using your device's browser to download the app. Once installed and opened, sign up using your email address. From here, you'll be put on a waiting list. When you get to the top of the list, you'll receive an email informing you that you can start using the app.
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