RIM Sets Stage For Smartphone Smackdown With AppleRIM Sets Stage For Smartphone Smackdown With Apple
Research In Motion officially made <a href="http://www.rim.com/news/press/2008/pr-12_05_2008-01.shtml">the BlackBerry 9000</a> -- aka the "Bold" -- public today after months of it appearing on Internet rumor sites. As expected, 3G is on board, and in three flavors, making it the first BlackBerry that can roam from the U.S. to Japan and South Korea. It's a smartphone first, but its media capabilities aren't lacking, either.
May 12, 2008
Research In Motion officially made the BlackBerry 9000 -- aka the "Bold" -- public today after months of it appearing on Internet rumor sites. As expected, 3G is on board, and in three flavors, making it the first BlackBerry that can roam from the U.S. to Japan and South Korea. It's a smartphone first, but its media capabilities aren't lacking, either.As the video review showed last week, it is all new hardware. The 9000 is the first 100% new smartphone from RIM in more than a year. It sports a completely redesigned keyboard and buttons, but sticks to the traditional form of the BlackBerrys of yore. It keeps the trackball for navigation, and brings in the latest version of the BlackBerry OS.
The real kicker is the radio support. As with most current versions of the Pearl, Curve, and 8800, it is quad-band GDM/EDGE. It adds three different 3G bands, however, making it a smartphone that can roam the world easily. That should be good news to BlackBerry users who often find themselves traveling between the United States, Europe, and Japan/South Korea. That covers a lot of ground for business users. On top of the 3G support, it adds 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi and built-in GPS. Don't forget about Bluetooth. Bluetooth 2.0 is stuffed in there as well, and the Bold supports stereo Bluetooth, among other profiles. It is powered by a 624-MHz processor, and comes with 1 GB of internal memory built-in, as well as support for microSD cards up to 16-GB in size. That means you can pack nearly 17-GB of media, er, work files, on the Bold 9000. The camera on the 9000 remains stuck at 2 megapixels. No improvement there, though it does have a flash. The media player has been reworked, and adds a lot of nice features, such as an equalizer and movie playback. It has doubled the resolution of the screen to half-VGA. That means a ton of pixels. Pricing information hasn't been revealed yet, but the BlackBerry 9000 will be available exclusively with AT&T in the U.S. RIM has set the stage for a serious competition with Apple in the coming months over the enterprise customer. If Apple truly upgrades the iPhone to be 3G and throws GPS into the mix, you'll have two capable enterprise devices available from the same network. Both will have a lot of support for enterprise features, such as push e-mail. RIM will likely win that fight hands down. Its enterprise software and services are simply superior to those of the iPhone. But basic enterprise features will be there for the iPhone. Adding in the stereo Bluetooth and tri-band HSDPA for world 3G roaming is a serious move. One that I doubt Apple can or will match. So the real buying decision will end up being this: Do media-heavy users go for the iPhone, which will still best the BlackBerry at music and other media playback, but can handle some enterprise tasks? Or do they go with the enterprise productivity of the Bold, first? With the iPhone 2.0 capabilities just around the corner, it is going to be a tighter race than ever.
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