In a quest for relevance RIM introduces new BlackBerry phones

New models of the BlackBerry Bold and Torch product lines have been announced running the BlackBerry 7 OS. It is not likely they will stem the desertion of BlackBerry customers underway.

Research in Motion (RIM) wants us to know that reports of its impending death are greatly exaggerated. The company has announced new BlackBerry models that run the BlackBerry 7 OS which according to RIM "offers a best-in-class mobile communications experience that customers love". The new phones will be launching globally later this month, and are refreshed models of the BlackBerry Bold and Torch handsets.

The new BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 are the thinnest BlackBerry phones yet, and combine a touch screen with a QWERTY keyboard. NFC technology is enabled making mobile payments a possibility, although no system was announced by RIM to take advantage of it.

The other new models are based on the BlackBerry Torch phone, with models both with and without a QWERTY keyboard. The Torch 9810 has a 3.2-inch screen and a sliding keyboard, while the 9850/9860 has a 3.7-inch display and no keyboard. RIM seems to be trying to cover its bases with the Torch by offering totally different styles under the same product name. This may end up confusing potential customers.

BlackBerry 7 is the newest version of the OS that precedes the company's switch to the QNX OS as found on the PlayBook Tablet. BB 7 is widely viewed as a stop-gap solution until the switch to QNX happens next year, and is a somewhat lame duck OS as a result. While BlackBerry enthusiasts will like these faster phones with the better web browsing experience in BB 7, they will not likely stem the desertion of existing customers RIM is undergoing.

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Image credit: Research in Motion

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