Introduction to the BlackBerry Bold 9780
A year after the BlackBerry 9700 was released, it appears that the Bold line is getting another upgrade in the form of the BlackBerry Bold 9780. At the center of the upgraded features is the new operating system, OS 6, but since you will be able to upgrade the 9700 to OS 6 as well, the 9780 seems to be targeted at people who don’t already have a Bold, or who want to run OS 6 on a device with 512 MB of RAM. Overall, the 9780 will have a decent mix of standard BlackBerry features along with some improved hardware that should lead to a pretty good overall experience.
It’s important to note that at this point, RIM hasn’t announced anything about the new device. All information is based on leaks and speculation, and is subject to change by the time the 9780 arrives in stores.
The overall design of the 9780 will change very little from the 9700. There is a trackpad in the middle of the device, with the four standard BlackBerry buttons and a full QWERTY keyboard. There are volume and access keys on the side, along with a headset jack, and a camera above the battery compartment on the back. The available images show the 9780 available in black, although there can always be different colors available at, or shortly after, launch.
These specs are taken from a leaked RIM PowerPoint slide, so they are subject to change. The major upgrades are the 512 MB of flash memory and the 5.0 megapixel camera, with much of the rest unchanged from the 9700.
- Processor – 624 MHz
- Battery – 1500 mAhr
- Base Memory – 512 MB
- Memory Card – Support for up to 32 GB
- Display – 2.44-inch, 480x360 pixels
- Bluetooth – version 2.1
- Headset Jack – 3.5mm
- Camera – 5.0 MP
Unlike the other new OS 6 BlackBerrys, the Bold 9780 will not have a touchscreen, and you will have to use the trackpad to navigate the device. While it may sound like a negative, this style of BlackBerry trackpad has very few issues and navigating through the device is relatively easy, especially with the improved operating system. The phone also offers a number of keyboard shortcuts that will let you jump to the bottom or top of large screens, like your message list or a web page. The QWERTY keyboard remains unchanged from the 9700.
The highlight of all of the BlackBerry devices being released in the second half of 2010, BlackBerry OS 6 promises a much improved user experience. The home screen offers you five different tabs to organize your applications, and you can flip between them with a swipe on the trackpad. You can also add contacts and individual web pages to the home screen, to make it easier to access those things that you visit often.
At the top of the home screen you can manage your connections, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can also press and hold the menu button to bring up the improved app switcher, which stacks icons so you can easily move between open applications. The new Bold also offers universal search through a search box in the middle of the home page. The search will look through almost everything on your 9780 and you can have the search include Google, YouTube, AppWorld and even some third-party applications.
In addition to making navigation easier, the OS 6 on the Bold 9780 has an improved response time when opening and moving through applications. Since the 9780 OS doesn’t need all the touchscreen controls like the Torch, the OS uses less than half of the available 512 MB of RAM, leaving you more onboard memory for your applications.
One of the major features on all BlackBerry OS 6 devices is the new WebKit-based browser. RIM acquired Torch Mobile in order to improve the BlackBerry’s performance, and the results are pretty impressive. While the Bold doesn’t offer the touchscreen controls, or the landscape views, the browser experience is still good as the pages load quickly and there isn’t much lag when you are switching between screens. The WebKit browser also offers tabbed browsing, so you can have multiple pages open at once, and switch between them with ease.
The camera on the new Bold is an impressive 5.0 megapixels, which is really on the upper end of what you will ever need in a phone. The camera also includes a digital zoom, which is more impressive than it sounds, since the camera has such a high resolution. The Bold 9780 also gives you integrated access to a large number of social networking applications, like BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Messenger and more.
Carrier and Release Date for the BlackBerry Bold 9780
The Bold 9780 looks like it will work on the UMTS and the EDGE networks, making T-Mobile and AT&T the most likely carriers to get the device. New reports also have the 9780 coming out for Vodafone in the UK, but no news on whether this will be before or after the US release.
RIM hasn’t officially announced the device yet, so there is obviously no official release date. A leaked slide shows that an October 2010 release may be in the works, but there is plenty of time for things to change. As soon as an official release date is announced, I will post the information here.