Research In Motion (RIM) today announced plans to launch five new BlackBerry smartphones based on its new BlackBerry 7 Operating System (OS). RIM is rolling out two new BlackBerry Bold models and three new BlackBerry Torch models, all running BlackBerry 7.
RIM is calling this its “largest global launch ever,” with more than 225 carriers and distribution partners already having commenced or completed over 500 certification programs for these five new handsets.
The new BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 are RIM’s thinnest smartphones ever (at only 10.5mm), each offering a keyboard and touch display. BlackBerry 7 introduces a new faster browser, as well as Liquid Graphics technology, with each smartphone combining a dedicated high-performance graphics processor with a faster CPU.
Each of the new smartphones features a 1.2 GHz processor, HD video recording, 24-bit high resolution graphics, and advanced sensors enabling new augmented reality applications such as Wikitude that can be integrated with BBM 6.
The Bold 9900 and 9930 are the first Bold devices to combine the iconic BlackBerry qwerty keyboard with a touch display, as well as the first BlackBerry smartphones to include built-in support for NFC.
The BlackBerry Torch 9810 builds on the design of the BlackBerry Torch 9800, featuring a 3.2-inch, high resolution touch display and a slide-out keyboard.
The BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 both feature a 3.7-inch touch display, the largest ever on a BlackBerry smartphone.
RIM says the new smartphones will begin to be available from carriers around the world starting later this month. Availability dates for specific devices from specific carriers will be announced in conjunction with RIM’s partners.
AT&T today outlined plans for its future portfolio of 4G BlackBerry smartphones, including the exclusive 4G BlackBerry Torch 9810, which is planned to be launched in August. The company also said it has plans to launch the 4G BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the 4G, all-touch, BlackBerry Torch 9860 in 2011. The 4G here refers to AT&T’s HSPA+ technology.
The Torch 9810 features a 1.2GHz CPU, 3.2-inch touchscreen, 8GB internal memory (with microSD expansion up to 32GB), and a 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture.
RIM has had a rough go of it lately as it realigns its portfolio around the QNX platform. According to Canalys, the company’s global market share has dropped from 33 percent last year to 12 percent in the second quarter of 2011.
Still, a launch of new products is exactly what RIM needed. Chris Jones, vice president and principal analyst for Canalys, said in a report that it was essential RIM launch BlackBerry 7 devices prior to the holiday season if it wanted to remain competitive.