Research In Motion has a plan for reversing its sagging fortunes in the smartphone space. Starting sometime in 2012, the Canadian company plans on producing a set of superphones with advanced hardware and a QNX-based operating system, more than capable of battling Apple's iPhone and the growing family of Google Android smartphones on their own terms.
Until that day, though, RIM is left producing BlackBerry smartphones that run some variant of its BlackBerry OS. On Aug. 3, the company announced a set of new devices running its new BlackBerry 7 OS: the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, the BlackBerry Torch 9810, and the BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860.
The BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 offer a 2.8-inch display with 640 x 480 resolution, 5-megapixel camera, integrated GPS and NFC (or near-field communication, which can turn your smartphone into a sort of electronic wallet) and 8GB of onboard memory expandable to 40GB. RIM claims these new Bold devices are its thinnest ever, although their overall design conforms to the standard BlackBerry look.
The BlackBerry Torch 9810 is RIM's newest variant on its Torch line, which features a slide-out keyboard and a 3.2-inch touch display. That's in contrast to the Torch 9850/9860, which rely on a 3.7-inch touch-screen and lack a physical QWERTY keyboard -- something that skews the aesthetics of RIM s device line toward its competitors, who have widely embraced the touch-screen-only model pioneered by Apple's iPhone. Whether or not customers gravitate toward RIM stepping so far outside its traditional comfort zone remains to be seen.
RIM claims the BlackBerry 7 OS offers faster browsing, smoother navigation, voice-activated universal search, and preinstalled apps such as the enhanced BlackBerry Messenger 6. Launched July 28, BBM 6 offers users the ability to chat within an app or game, as well as view lists of apps posted on BBM friends profiles. The company has also been encouraging developers to build apps for its BlackBerry App World, which trails both Google and Apple in its number of offerings.