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back to article RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900

With Android steaming ahead of Apple in terms of sales, and Windows Phone 7 soon to launch on Nokia handsets, RIM has got its work cut out to make sure BlackBerry can stay relevant and desirable in these fast-paced times. RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900 The slimmest BlackBerry yet: RIM's Bold 9900 The company has just announced …

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FAIL

£529, you've got to be joking

I admit it, I am a phone junkie. I like the BB form factor, owing a Pre, E61i, Treo 750, BB9700 and HTC Chacha. Seriously, is OS7 really such an advance on OS6? Should it really be 6.1? I love my BB9700, except the web browser and email size limitations, but it only cost me £200 (2nd hand). 2 or 3 days battery life with 4 push email accounts, twitter, Facebook all running is something the HTC can only dream of.

The Chacha was purchased from CEX, as a carrier locked model for £135, and was brand spanking new. Even better it turned out to be a SIM unlocked/free model. Now I'm not going to claim the Chacha is a rival to the BB9900, but at £400 less, it does somethings way better for a lot less cash.

If RIM did a cost reduced version, and managed to improve the browser experience, then I'd probably trade up. But at that price, it's a no deal for me. The verdict seems spot on, unlikely to attract new people to RIM, and a trade up for BB9000/9700/STORM (shudder) owners.

The BB9700 was the last decent, VFM, handset they did, IMO. Upgradable to OS6, well built, speedy. I did try a BB9800 and was unimpressed. Likewise the BB9780 had virtually no extra features except more memory, uprated camera and UMA over the BB9700. Who supports UMA in the UK? None of the carriers I was on.

I don't see a happy ending for RIM, they've been tweaking models for far too long and the new form factors are unimpressive. TORCH/STORM I'm looking at you! Let's hope it's not HP/PALM all over again.

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UMA

Orange does UMA - main reason why I got the BB 9780, as there's no mobile signal at all where I live in deepest, darkest Surrey.. Drives my poor iPhone using housemates beserk..!

There will always be a demand for phones with a full keyboard, and BB are the major players in that category, so you can't blame them for keeping this line going - even if the price does seem a bit high. From experience, I would guess this would be free on a £25/month contract very quickly..

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title

I think you're bang on the money with BB's appworld being its achilles heel.

Apps are now touted a central point to expanding the use of your phone. Sure you may not want them, but if you do, there are thousands of free and paid for apps - on the droid or iphone markets.

Blackberry treats its appworld like a freakshow attraction. You can have a look if you want, but you'll be just fine if you ignore it.

That was all fine and dandy when RIM was seen as an business tool. But they are not seen that way anymore, and people are not content with just a secure reliable phone. They want the razzle dazzle of turning their phone into a torch, or install a new browser, or IM client or whatever takes the fancy.

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Userbase issue

RIM users love to use a powerful hardware like a feature phone. That was the same issue with Symbian and sad thing is, there is no limit what you can do with Symbian development. For example you can even code a smart IR remote (Psiloc) or location based "setting robot".

There are Nokia users who doesn't even know they have a full feature maps app in their phone, for free.

So userbase like that is the issue itself. I can't even convince BB users to update their firmware, the built in apps!

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FAIL

how much?

Over 500 quid for an averagely specified qwerty phone? I think I'll be sticking with my Nokia E72 for some time yet has much the same features, if not as slick but much cheaper. The Bold's seem to be endlessly tweaked with minor upgrades - when you can get a Curve on PAYG for about £140 I'm struggling to see who'll actually be buying this.

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Keep that E72

If I were you, I would keep an eye on software updates and ovi app store since E72 guys get some cool stuff for free nowadays. Nokia licensed Joikuspot (pro) globally for example.

It is running an advanced version of J2ME with "close to hardware" extensions, it can't beat your E72 running everything from C to J2ME to Web widgets. Unless you are sick of Nokia brand as I do, keep your E72.

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WTF?

HTC Cha Cha?!

Seriously? 'Cha Cha'? I'm not sure I could buy a phone with that name no matter how good it is; it'd make you sound like a secondary Looney Toons character whenever you talked about it!

"Hey, what phone is that?"

"A Cha Cha!"

"Very funny. Come on, what phone is it?"

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Silver badge
Coat

It gets better...

Chacha is slang for "maid" in Mexico. So people who buy that particular phone are probably going to be er ... fondling their smartphones...

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£150 too much

A smart-looking smartphone. I've tried the glass keyboard input thing, and hated it, so went back to BB9700. But the price......too much. Hopefully they'll bring it down below £400 soon. Lob £150 off this thing and it could do very well. Perhaps it'll drop in price before Xmas.

RIM would never admit this, but I'm certain there are bods in their marketing and branding department who won't have minded the 'riot organiser' smears aimed at the brand recently. Notoriety is powerful selling tool.

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Joke

Well, there's synergy there, actually...

...wealthy businessmen and rioters both rip off the middle class and end up with big TVs and expensive electronics!

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Headmaster

Yawn

Next handset in the trash will be all the Sales' guys BB's 9800's which will mysteriously fail.

No worries, the IS&T guys will replace them with iPhone4's or 5's shortly.

RIM is becoming irrelevant in the handset market aren't they -- very same-y

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irrelevant?

Whereas the iphone range makes boundless leaps forward with every version? Not comparing this to an iphone though.

I wouldn't get one of these, but the "yoof" would. My 11 year old has just got a BB despite me showing all the much more feature packed phones that were available. Its all about the messaging. Over £500 for this is insane - but the some of the yoof with cash will buy it just to be bling - even so it will plummet to £200 in 6 months.

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Joke

Missing target audience

Whilst nice if we are led to believe the youth of today like BB messenger then why didn;t they make one with a build in lighter and bottle opener!

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Silver badge

Yeah,

It has to be gold plated, encrusted with fake diamonds spelling out the name of the owner, and have space for a concealed knife.

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Silver badge
Megaphone

Hello? Over £500?

Sorry, if I am going to pony up over 500 quid for a phone it would have to be so ultra cutting edge that the manufacturer would had to have imported it from 5 years in future by means of a TARDIS. This rather mediocre BB definitively does not qualify. If RIM do not start to deliver kit at a price that you can afford without looting your nearest CPW they are going to end up going even faster down the kahzi than they are now.

ps Great sub-heading BTW - I just howled when I read it.

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any Symbian switchers?

I wonder how does BB serve to a Symbian switcher, e.g. from Nokia E71/72 to BB? Stuff like Kaspersky AV has same features like call/sms filtering? Maps against Nokia maps? Battery life? Deep running apps like ion battery timer?

Funny that RIM and tech media themselves (including symbian sites) never write about it.

I am not going iOS or Android, I know Nokia E7 would still rock but I am so irritated by Nokia nowadays so BB could be an option.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

RIM does not get it.

Too expensive.

Too little improvement.

Too late.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah right

£500 for a BB whilst you can get vastly superior phones from Nokia, LG, HTC etc. for £300 or less. Let's see what buzzwords marketing will throw at you to cover up minuscule technical progress: "must have item"..."ecosystem"..."best of breed"..."agile"...just go to Westfield in Shepherd's Bush, there are always some phone pusher in black polo shirts. Just ask them questions about overdue phone development and they collectively draw a blank: 0.5 inch lens, mechanical zoom, quad sim with hot swap (very useful for a business user in Europe), GPS and GLONASS combined, dedicated phone transmitters independent and shielded from facebook apps etc.

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RIM is the only one with a clue

It's not about the phone, it's about the data on it.

At minima your contacts, often also your mail, and for advanced users also agendas and notes.

But data doesn't live in isolation, it needs to be constantly available and up to date on multiple devices: my phone, my tablet, my laptop, and over the web when all the others fail.

To date I have three choices: BES/BISx (not plain BIS, which is a waste of time), ActiveSync, and local cable/bluetooth syncing.

The only one that always works, no matter how bad your signal is, ... BISx/BES.

Low level signaling still works when you have GSM-only (SMS), changes can be buffered (try filing a mail on your iPhone when you have no network), and the protocol is optimized (keep alive over HTTPS on poor EDGE/GPRS to sync state just isn't).

So as much as the iPhone is neat, and Samung's Galaxy really powerful, and Nokia... None of the other phones do what is most important: make sure I have my data up to date over the air and with me at all times.

RIM is the only game in town, the rest is just for show.

Never mind the whole debate about how virtual keyboards are cute, but will never allow you to be as efficient as a RIM physical keyboard (you're on a bumpy/crowded bus, with your grocery/travel bags in one hand, holding on to the railing, phone in the other hand: I'd still be typing this with ease).

The only thing I can hold against RIM, and here I agree with most of you that RIM is dead: unless they share/open/license BES/OTA sync with other platforms, consumers will go for the shiny new phone from vendor x that is only really a phone, and the real smartphone technology will die.

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