On Wednesday, Research In Motion (RIM) announced plans to launch five new BlackBerry smartphones, which may give the iPhone and Android a run for their money.
The latest BlackBerry phones will all inlclude BlackBerrys new 7 operating system. The launch of these five new phones will be the "largest launch" BlackBerry has ever seen, and one could bet that RIM is trying to rise back to its former position of power in the world of smartphones.
"This is the largest global launch of BlackBerry smartphones in our history," said Mike Lazaridis, RIM's President and Co-CEO.
"The BlackBerry solution offers a best-in-class mobile communications experience that customers love and we think they will be thrilled by the faster performance, enhanced browsing and richer multimedia delivered by these powerful new BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Torch smartphones," he added.
RIM's BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Torch will be sold through AT&T, Sprint and US Cellular.
The BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860 is the latest attempt at stealing the spotlight from Android and iPhone. The touchscreen-only phone will host the latest generation of BlackBerry OS software, BlackBerry 7 Operating System (OS). Both the AT&T model and the Sprint model run on a 1.2 GHz processor and have 768MB of RAM. The 480 by 800 resolution is below that of Apple's Retina display.
PCWorld.com calls the latest BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860 "a mere catch-up to the iPhone and high-end Android phones from last season."
The camera is comparable to that of the iPhone 4, with a 5 MP camera, flash, and 720p HD video capabilities.
The Blackberry Torch 9810 will host Liquid Graphics technology, which promises to deliver 'an incredible multimedia experience.'
RIM says of the latest additions to the BlackBerry family:
"The new BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 are RIM's thinnest smartphones ever, each offering a large keyboard and brilliant touch display. The new BlackBerry Torch 9810 smartphone builds on the popularity of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 and combines a large touch display with a convenient slide-out keyboard. The BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 introduce an all-new, all-touch design featuring the largest display on a BlackBerry smartphone to date."
About 7 OS
BlackBerry 7 is said to be significantly faster, have a "more fluid web browsing experience," and is said to be able to compete against the best in the industry. BlackBerry has stated that their latest smartphones will deliver results "that are up to 40% faster than BlackBerry 6 based smartphones and up to 100% faster than BlackBerry 5 based smartphones."
Long awaited Blackberry 9900/9930 with touch display and keyboard
One thing BlackBerry has always had going for itself was their keyboard and messaging system, but as more and more phones are released with touch screens, the BlackBerry Bold was behind the times. Now, with the combination of the touch screen and its iconic keyboard, the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 may be able to stay in the game as one of the most useful smartphones. The 9900 version of the Bold will be the thinnest BlackBerry smartphone and will included built-in support for NFC (Near Field Communications). With a brushed stainless steel frame, the 9900 is sure to grab some attention for its aesthetics.
The released date for the latest generation of the Bold has not been made public.
Revolutionary BBM: enough to elevate BlackBerry to its former status?
The BlackBerry Messengers has been given a makeover. RIM announced in late July that the availability of BBM version 6 provides support for BBM connected apps, which provides a more interactive functionality within BBM.
"BBM 6 marks the beginning of an even greater social experience for BlackBerry smartphone users," said Alistair Mitchell, VP, BBM Platform & Integrated Services at Research In Motion.
"It also represents an incredible opportunity for developers to leverage the viral nature of the BBM service and we have already begun working with various developer partners who will be bringing their BBM connected apps to BlackBerry App World this week, offering users highly engaging app experiences."
As outlined by RIM, some of the added functions users can expect include:
Sharing app experiences with friends - When a user discovers a great new BBM connected app, they can instantly let their friends know about it. Users can simply select a BBM contact directly within the BBM connected app they are using.
Have a BBM chat within apps - Users can simply pull up their BBM contact list directly from within the BBM connected app and start chatting. For example, the functionality can enable everything from enhanced social game play to collaboration through productivity apps.
Discovering apps through friends - Users can also discover new apps by viewing the list of apps that are posted to a BBM friend's profile. They can also click on an app within the list, and instantly download it from BlackBerry App World.
What people are saying of BBM 6
"One of the keys to viral game sales is to allow users to easily invite their friends to join them in playing the games they love," said Keith Pichelman, CEO, Concrete Software. "Integrating BBM into Pocket Ants has allowed the game to do just that."
"The Huffington Post, a leader in implementing social features to reach and interact with its network of readers and bloggers, integrates the BlackBerry Social Platform to create a place where our users can continue to engage in up-to-the-minute news stories, blogs, and analysis," said Paul Berry, CTO of the Huffington Post Media Group.
"As a BBM connected app, we make it simple for our readers to easily share and discuss the news. BBM 6 allows The Huffington Post to continue to reach its audience in a new way when they are on the go, and without having to compromise on the quality of their experience," said Berry.
However, regardless of BBM 6 or the latest BlackBerry operating system (7 OS), BlackBerry will have some stiff competition. Currently Android and Apple are dominating the market, and with the iPhone 5 soon-to-be released, BlackBerry's competition is only going to increase.
If BlackBerry can roll out the latest Bold before the iPhone 5 drops, it will have a slight advantage. Although Apple has seen a greater success in sales than BlackBerry, there are still some users who stand by BlackBerry. However, if BlackBerry lets iPhone get a head start on iPhone 5 sales, those who have been eagerly waiting for the latest BlackBerry Bold may make the switch -- and that may seal BlackBerry's fate as a runner-up to the iPhone.
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