BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930: Has RIM got its groove back?

BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 were unveiled today. But will the 9900 and 9930 be enough to restore RIM's mojo?

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 smartphones were unveiled today, along with a new BlackBerry OS. Here, the BlackBerry Bold 9900.

RIM this week unveiled a pair of new smartphones –– the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 –– along with a new iteration of the in-house BlackBerry OS. The timing is good: In recent months, RIM has been edged out of the spotlight by next-generation phones such as Androids and the iPhone, and there's nothing like a nice little smartphone unveiling to get the media's attention.

The details are still trickling out, but the the Bold 9900 and 9930 are said to be the thinnest BlackBerry phones yet. RIM is touting the 1.2 GHz processor and "Liquid Graphics" touch screen on both phones, as well as NFC technology, which "will enable many rich and exciting experiences." (Click here for a primer on the NFC stuff.) The 9900 and 9930 should hit this summer; no word yet on price.

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So how do the new RIM phones hold up? Let's go to the experts.

The new phone, writes Sascha Segan of PC Mag, "is a very subtle upgrade to the existing BlackBerry Bold with BlackBerry 6. Maybe it's too subtle; after spending 20 minutes with a device, I can't see it changing anyone's mind about BlackBerry." The issue is a simple one: "BlackBerry 7 OS is a let-down," he writes. Segan couldn't find enough functionalities to justify the 7 appellation –– BlackBerry 7 was more like BlackBerry 6.1, he suggested.

"If RIM was still on top of the smartphone marketplace, the new Bold would be a proud extension of a successful brand," he adds. "It takes everything that BlackBerry does, and does it a little bit better. It's beautiful. It works smoothly. It will plug into enterprise servers with ease. But that's not the world we're in." Correct! In fact, we're in a world where the recently-released BlackBerry PlayBook has been pelted by reviewers and slammed by bloggers – with a few exceptions.

RIM could use a hit. And judging by the early reactions, the BlackBerry 9900 doesn't quite cut the mustard. But hey, maybe we're missing something. BlackBerry fan? Drop us a line in the comments section. In the meantime, to stay abreast of the big tech news, sign up for the free weekly Innovation newsletter, which is emailed out every Wednesday. For free.

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