Research In Motion is fighting back against a competitive industry with its latest set of Blackberry devices.
At its annual Blackberry World event in Orlando, Fla., RIM introduced the Blackberry Bold 9900 and 9930 Smartphones. The smartphones combine the classic Blackberry features, the sleek frame, QWERTY keyboard and the Blackberry Messenger service, with newer capabilities such as 4G, augmented realty and near-field communications (NFC).
The phones' platform comes with 4G capabilities, the first of the Blackberry phones to feature the fourth generation of cellular wireless standard. The Bold 9900 supports HSPA+ connectivity, while the 9930 supports CDMA EV-DO Rev.
Both phones also feature NFC capabilities, another first for the Blackberry family. NFC technology will allow users to pair their phone with an accessory or read information such as a web link from smart tagging by pointing their phone to an NFC tag. The NFC capability allows for the transmitting of data from an initiator to a target; usually a short distance away; and for monetary purposes.
The new Blackberries also have augmented reality, which will allow for interaction between the phone and a physical target. For instance, if the phone is held over a certain object, an app called Wikitude will be able to pull up information on that object.
RIM's newest lineup of phones comes at a critical time for the company. On Friday, the company adjusted the amount of Blackberries it expected to sell in the current fiscal quarter, lowering its guidance as a result going from $1.47-$1.55 for projected earnings per share to $1.30-$1.37 per share. The result was its stock sunk like a stone, dropping 14.77 percent, or $7.95 per share, from Thursday's closing price of $53.84 per share.
RIM chief executive Jim Basillie said at a meeting with analysts on Monday that the rate of industry growth was too turbulent for the company. We were delighted with the way the world was going in terms of grow, grow, grow. Then what happened is that the industry went into a very turbulent cycle of innovation, Basillie said. All that change happened faster than we expected.
According to research from NPD Group, sales of Blackberry phones declined five percent during the frist three months of 2011. Gartner expects RIM's market share to go from 16 percent in 2010 to 11.5 percent in 2011.
RIM made it clear at Blackberry World it isn't willing to go down without a fight. In addition to the aforementioned capabilities, the latest phones use the Blackberry 7 operating system and a 1.2 GHz processor. They come HD video and the displays have a resolution of 287 dots per inch. They also have a touch-screen which uses Liquid Graphics capabilities, coupled with which goes along with a QWERTY keyboard. RIM says this touch screen has a performance of 60 frames per second with instant interface response.
The new BlackBerry Bold smartphones and BlackBerry 7 OS are inspired by millions of customers around the world who want the ultimate combination of performance, functionality and style, said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO, Research In Motion. These fully-loaded and beautifully crafted smartphones offer a highly refined user experience with blazingly fast performance, a brilliant touch screen and an outstanding typing experience.
Among RIM's other Blackberry World announcements, the phone manufacturer also announced video chat capabilities and Facebook app for its Playbook tablet.