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RIM rolls out NFC-enabled BlackBerry Bolds

Research In Motion's new Bold 9900 and Bold 9930 smartphones are the first BlackBerry devices to support the contactless communications tech used in travelcards
By David Meyer, Contributor on
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BlackBerry Bold 9900 front

Research In Motion has unveiled its latest BlackBerry smartphones, the Bold 9900 and Bold 9930, which both run on the new BlackBerry 7 OS.

The two smartphones, shown off on Tuesday, are essentially the same device with one difference. The 9900 (pictured above) supports HSPA+ mobile broadband, while the 9930 supports both the CDMA EV-DO Rev A standard, which is widely used in North America, and HSPA+ global roaming. The phones are the first in RIM's line-up to incorporate near-field communication (NFC) technology.

In a statement, Research In Motion (RIM) chief Mike Lazaridis said the handsets "offer a highly refined user experience with blazingly fast performance, a brilliant touchscreen and an outstanding typing experience".

One of the new features of the BlackBerry 7 OS is its Liquid Graphics touchscreen technology, which allows a frame rate of up to 60 frames per second. The display on the phones offers a pixel density of 287 pixels per inch — less than the iPhone 4's 326, but greater than the Samsung Nexus S's 235. This density is created via the use of a 480x640-pixel resolution on the 2.8-inch capacitive screen.

The new handsets will come out in the summer, RIM said.


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BlackBerry Bold 9900 back

Both the BlackBerry Bold 9900 (pictured) and the 9930 have brushed stainless steel frames and what RIM calls a "high-gloss, glass-weave backplate".

The devices have a thickness of 10.5mm, making them the thinnest BlackBerry handsets so far. The camera allows 720p high-definition video recording.

RIM has also introduced a new feature called BlackBerry Balance, which isolates personal content from corporate content on the device, in order to keep work-related data secure.


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BlackBerry Bold 9900 side

The new Bold smartphones use 1.2GHz processors, providing the same clock speed promised by rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S II.

The handsets have built-in compasses, which developers will be able to use to write augmented-reality apps via APIs, RIM said.

The updated browser in BlackBerry 7 uses a new just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compiler for speedier page loads and supports new HTML 5 elements such as HTML 5 video. The browser also allows voice-activated search.


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BlackBerry Bold 9900 bottom angle

One of the new features in the BlackBerry Bolds is near-field communication, or NFC.

NFC is the contactless transfer technology used in travel smartcards. It is increasingly being built into handsets in the hope that such devices will soon be able to obviate the need for multiple wireless identification and payment cards and fobs.

Preloaded apps on the phones include Docs To Go, which lets users view Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, as well as PDFs.


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