RIM readying refreshed edition of the BlackBerry Bold

BlackBerry Bold, the popular handset from RIM, will get a refresh for 2010.

BlackBerry Bold fans could get an early Christmas present. At left, the scene at a RIM store in India.

RIM is readying a new BlackBerry Bold – but according to an internal document obtained by Boy Genius Report, the new Bold, code-named the R020, will now be really much more than a refresh of the BlackBerry Bold 9700. The RIM document shows a photograph of a handset that is almost identical to the Bold 9700, from the boxy design to the 2.44-inch display.

Internally, it looks like the BlackBerry Bold R020 – again, the phone will likely get a different appellation before release – will get Micro SD support, bolstered battery life, and 512MB of RAM, up from the 256MB available on the Bold 9700. The BGR document lists the first customer shipment as October of 2010; no word on pricing.

RIM, which has struggled to keep up with Apple in the smartphone market, could certainly use a hit, although it's not clear the Bold R020 could fulfill that role.

On August 3, RIM unveiled the BlackBerry Torch, a handset that was widely seen as a direct challenge to the top-selling Apple iPhone. The Torch, which is exclusive to AT&T, arrives preloaded with a bunch of apps, and the touch screen – which compliments the slide-out keyboard – is very Apple like, with a pinch-to-zoom functionality.

But sales of the much-ballyhooed Torch have been less than fiery. By one estimate – which RIM has not confirmed – consumers snatched up just 150,000 Torch handsets. RIM must be hoping that enterprise customers hop on board soon. Last week, several online retailers chopped the original asking price of the BlackBerry Torch – $199 with a two-year voice and data contract – to just $99, in an apparent effort to drum up interest in the phone.

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