Hands-On Video: BlackBerry Bold 9900 – NFC, BB 7 OS, Thinnest Bold Yet

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Yesterday, RIM announced the latest addition to the Bold family, the 9900, and at the BlackBerry World show we got some time to play around with it. It is indeed their slimmest BlackBerry to date, and the first in a long line of upcoming devices to support augmented reality apps, near-field communications, and big horsepower. The 9900 also brings a touchscreen to the classic QWERTY candybar form factor that BlackBerry has been sporting for so very long, which responds quickly and fluidly to input. The Bold 9900 runs an updated OS, branded as version 7, which, though not backwards compatible, will include extended Documents to Go features, and an updated browser rendering engine akin to the PlayBook (though missing Flash support).

As a BlackBerry fan, I’m very tempted to make the 9900 my next handset. It’s slim, will have respectable battery life with a screen smaller than the Torch (which isn’t much of a loss if you’ve got a PlayBook handy), and the 1.2 GHz processor will ensure the lags and hang-ups are a thing of the past. The 5 megapixel camera will be able to capture 720p video, which is more than enough for casual shares to Facebook. The increased screen resolution (640 x 480) will make up for in sharpness what it lacks in size. The one thing I didn’t see in my demo was mobile hotspot, a feature we were lead to believe would be in the device – I’ll be sure to check again here at the show, but if it’s not on there, it might be a dealbreaker. Mobile hotspot is a huge utility, and offers a lot more speed than what you can get through Bluetooth tethering.

What do you guys think? Is this too much more of the same buttoned-down safe-zone stuff RIM does, or is it good that BlackBerry is keeping what they do well and refining it for modern standards?

  • Bill Ferreira

    This is more of the same. RIM will continue to trail Google and Apple because its management is unable to think outside the current box they’ve built. The Playbook release was terrible, which explains its lackluster sales performance.

    What RIM forgets is that most business people using these devices are now in their 40s and want simplicity in their devices. Small screens requiring 18 point font to read emails just make us feel old.

    Customers also want a coolness factor, which RIM once offered by can no longer provide.  What we need is an HD 4′ screen, a fast processor (1.5 GHz) and at least 1 GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an hdmi connection for presentations, as well as a larger battery. Personally, I also think they need a slider keyboard, but it needs to be at least as wide as the Bold 9700 keyboard and not the tiny Curve like keypad they put in the Torch. In short, replace my laptop. Apple and Google are close, but if you want to leapfrog them, make it happen.

    As for software, less clutter is better. Run the software past real users (and not just your programmers) before releasing it. All the latest RIM products seem to have been tested by their CEOs and not by real customers. If they had been, maybe RIM stock would be sitting above $100  and not on life support below $30 today.

    If RIM is to survive, the next device must be cutting edge. If it’s just more of the same, expect RIM to follow PALM down the path to oblivion.

    • Gene Lee

      Who are you to speak for all customers?  Sounds like YOU have thought of a phone YOU perhaps might like and decided a leading force in a multi-billion dollar industry should develop their products according to your preferences.  Fool.

      • Keysgirl

        Gene, isn’t that what companies are supposed to do?  Develop and provide products for customers’ preferences?  If they don’t they will soon go out of business.  BTW, calling names is a projection of negative energy into the Universe, that will come back to you in some way…karma.  Peace & Love to you too.

    • Keysgirl

      I agree.  I don’t know all the technical aspects, but you said my needs in a nutshell. I want to remain loyal, because I use it for business and it meets my needs on a basic level, but they’re making it really hard. I’d love to have a torch, but T-mobile doesn’t offer it.  I have considered buying an unlocked one, but I’ve read about major problems, like T-mob doesn’t support the 3G in the Torch, so you’re stuck with 2G.  Yes, I’m rambling and thinking out loud. Peace & Love in the Universe.

  • Bobbygu

    Any idea on how to activate the NFC option?

    I bought an unlocked T-Mobile and can’t find the NFC option in the settings.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Bobbygu

    Any idea on how to activate the NFC option?

    I bought an unlocked T-Mobile and can’t find the NFC option in the settings.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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