updated 09:00 am EDT, Mon May 2, 2011
BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 official
RIM kicked off the start of BlackBerry World with its first truly modern smartphone. The Bold 9900 series is the first to have both a fixed QWERTY keyboard and focuses on an exceptionally sharp, 2.8-inch 640x480 touchscreen. The company is also aiming for its first true iPhone-like responsiveness with a 60 frames per second interface that doesn't lag input like on the Storm or Torch.
BB7 also brings voice-activated Universal Search, like Android. BlackBerry Balance is now official and keeps secure e-mail as well as other corporate information separate from personal data on the phone. The technique can not only keep secret information off-limits to personal apps but lets a company remotely wipe its data off of a leaving employee's phone without touching personal content.
The phone both catches up and moves ahead in some areas for RIM by adding NFC, for making short-range wireless payments or reading tags, as well as adding 720p video recording to the five-megapixel camera. RIM's phone is its thinnest ever at 10.5mm, still a millimeter thicker than the iPhone 4, but also fits both 8GB of internal storage as well as a microSDHC card slot and a removable battery.
Bold 9900 phones should be shipping in GSM (9900) and dual-mode CDMA/GSM (9930) versions starting in the summer. Early leaks have put the launch in or near July. Check in with Electronista later for a hands-on.