Research in Motion's latest attempt at gaining a foothold in the smartphone industry is the Blackberry Bold 9900, its first ever 4G phone.
The phone, which will be available on T-Mobile's cellular network, launched in stores this week. It's the latest attempt by Research in Motion to turn around the slump it has been in for more than a year. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company has seen its shares cut down as more consumers have bought iPhones and Google Android-based phones.
The company has seemingly tried everything recently to stop its slide. With phones on all four major networks, it has dropped several new products this year. The Blackberry 9900 is just the latest and greatest. Here are five things to know about this one.
- 4G: The Blackberry Bold 9900 is RIM's first ever 4G phone. It runs on the T-Mobile network, which is in fourth place in terms of cell phone subscribers in the U.S. The company's 4G network only runs in 194 markets in the U.S., making its reach fairly limited. Still, RIM deserves credit for getting a 4G phone out before Apple has released one with the iPhone.
- NFC: Speaking of things the iPhone doesn't possess yet, the Blackberry Bold 9900 comes with near field communication (NFC) capabilities. NFC allows people to treat their smartphones a sort of electronic wallet. A simple tap of a cell phone can process a point-of-sale (POS) system at a store.
- Tradition with New: The Blackberry Bold 9900 looks like a lot of the Blackberries that came before it. It has that traditional QWERTY keyboard, the rounded Blackberry shape and the familiar Blackberry icons (email, BBM) in clear view. However like many newer Blackberries, it has a touch-screen and comes with the Blackberry 7 OS, which includes HTML5. It has also slimmed down to become the thinnest Blackberry ever at only 10.5 milimeters.
- High Price: At $350 even with a two year contract, the Blackberry Bold 9900 is as high-end as smartphones get. Even Apple's highest priced phone, the iPhone 4 with 32 GB of data on the Verizon network, doesn't cost that much ($300).
- Not Enough: Most reviewers are impressed with the Blackberry Bold 9900's new features, but still don't think it will be enough. The Telegraph's Matt Warman says its not enough in the age of iOS and Android. BoyGeniusReport's Jonathan S. Geller said despite the fact its RIM's best Blackberry ever, it's still a Blackberry and there's no really no reason to pick it over the iPhone 4 or a high-end Android phone.