Research In Motion has added five BlackBerry 7 OS-powered models to its Bold and Torch line-up, including a touchscreen-only version of the Torch.
Only three of the handsets unveiled on Wednesday — the Bold 9900, Torch 9850 and Torch 9810 — are new models for the UK market (pictured). The Bold 9930 and Torch 9860 are headed for the US.
Each of the devices runs the new BlackBerry 7 operating system, which brings near-field communication (NFC) support, updated Blackberry Messenger (BBM) and Social Feeds options, and speed improvements to the WebKit-based browser.
"NFC will allow the BlackBerry community to make contactless mobile payments, read tags on smart posters, or easily and simply — with accessories — access buildings securely," Rob Orr, product manager for BlackBerry in EMEA, said at a launch event in London.
The Torch 9850 has a full touchscreen, while the Torch 9810 has a sliding Qwerty keyboard. The Bold 9900 was first shown off at RIM's BlackBerry World event in May.
All of the devices, including the top-of-the-range Bold 9900 (above right, next to the Torch 9850) include a 1.2GHz processor, high-definition video capture and 24-bit high-resolution graphics.
The 9900 comes with NFC support out of the box, a five-megapixel camera, and memory card support up to 32GB.
RIM also announced a version of the 9900, the 9930, for the US market. The company did not say which handsets would go on sale first or how much they will cost.
"The next generation of BlackBerry smartphones will be available from carriers around the world starting later this month," a company spokesman said. In the UK, Vodafone, Three and O2 are lined up to sell the Bold 9900.
The Bold 9900 retains RIM's trademark Qwerty keyboard and marries it with a touchscreen on the top half of the device.
All of the handsets come with the new BlackBerry 7 operating system. The OS brings in a revamped WebKit-based browser, NFC support, and Liquid Graphics GPU-accelerated graphics technology, which speeds up rendering and smooths transitions.
The chrome-edged Bold 9900 is the company's slimmest smartphone to date, measuring 10.5mm thick and weighing 130g. It comes with a holographic-style effect on the rear of the device.
The Torch 9810, an update to the 9800 model, has a sliding Qwerty keyboard beneath a touch-sensitive 3.2-inch display.
Like the other devices, the 9810 comes with Wi-Fi and HSPA connectivity. It also offers 8GB of internal storage, in addition to memory card support of up to 32GB.
The slider 9810, while not as thin as the Bold 9900, still measures a respectable 14.6mm thick but weighs around 30g more at 161g.
Each handset has the Wikitude augmented reality AR browser pre-installed (shown above). The software overlays data from various surrounding points of interest onto real-world images.
The revamped WebKit-based browser in BlackBerry 7 OS delivers speed increases of up to 40 percent over BlackBerry 6, RIM said. However, the mobile operating system does not support Flash.
The Canadian handset maker is set on shifting to QNX as its smartphone OS, so these devices could be some of the last to be based on the BlackBerry platform.
The same tools can be used to develop for version 7 of the OS as for version 6, a company spokesman said.
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