3 min read

RIM Announces Two More SnoozeBerrys

Research In Motion took the wraps off the Bold 9790 and Curve 9380, incrementally updated BlackBerry smartphones that don't break much ground.
Research In Motion announced two, new BlackBerrys this week--the Bold 9790 and Curve 9380. Both follow the well-worn design path set by generations of BlackBerrys while bringing little new to the bloodline.

The Bold 9790 is a traditional BlackBerry, offering a 2.45-inch display and a full QWERTY keyboard for messaging and emails. As with the Bold 9900/9930, the 9790's display is also a touchscreen, and delivers a respectable 480 x 360 resolution with 246 dots per inch.

The 9790 is motivated by a 1-GHz processor, which appears to be a single-core chip. It has 1 GB of memory and 8 GB of onboard storage. It will accept microSD cards up to 32 GB, if you need that much space for files on your phone. It comes with the typical 5-megapixel camera, which boasts autofocus and a flash. Video capture is limited to VGA at 640 x 480. It supports the usual spate of wireless networks, including Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and (initially) AT&T's 3G network.

BlackBerry Bold 9790
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BlackBerry Bold 9790
[ RIM needs to move quickly or lose third-party developers. Read RIM Loses Developer Interest, Microsoft Gains. ]

The Curve 9380 has a similar feature set, but changes things up a bit. The 9380 gets rid of the keyboard entirely and is a full touch phone. The display measures 3.2-inches and has 480 x 360 pixels at 188 pixels per inch. RIM didn't specify how fast its processor is, but the 9380 offers only 512 MB of memory.

Like the 9790, the 9380 has the same wireless network support, microSD card support, camera/video features, and optical trackpad and BlackBerry controls.

RIM notes that both phones feature an improved browser with better HTML5 and JavaScript powers. They both also include built-in support for augmented reality and near-field communications for mobile payments. The both run BlackBerry OS7, and will be available from carriers around the world in mere weeks.

BlackBerry Curve 9380
(click image for larger view)
BlackBerry Curve 9380
While both devices are no doubt fine business machines, they are also the same-old, same-old from Research In Motion, which is clearly treading water until it can get its BBX-based BlackBerrys to the market.

Neither breaks any new ground in terms of design, appearance, or capabilities. Meanwhile, Android manufacturers continue to roll out smartphones with 4.65-inch displays, 1.2-GHz dual-core chips, 4G, 8-megapixel cameras with 1080p video capture, and other enticing features.

Will RIM sell a bunch of the new 9790s and 9380s? Sure, but not enough to help it recover its continually weakening market position.