RIM's relevance in the mobile market has been highly debated as of late (I'm putting them on the spot myself with my 30 day "BlackBerry Challenge"), but they're not taking the onslaught of criticism laying down.  The Waterloo-based company is in the process of rolling out three new smartphones to compete with Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and the other platforms in the marketplace.  They're not QNX devices (those are scheduled to launch next year), but from a hardware standpoint, they're much-need upgrades to the BlackBerry line.

The BlackBerry Bold 9930 was announced at BlackBerry World in May, and it launches on August 21st on Sprint, August 25th on Verizon (through you can order it now), and August 31st on T-Mobile.  Packing a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor, 2.8-inch touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, full QWERTY keyboard, and BlackBerry 7, it's quite the feature-packed 'Berry.

I've had 24 hours with the Bold 9930, and so far, I'm really enjoying it.  Some first impressions:

  • RIM's decision to include a full QWERTY keyboard and a 2.8-inch touchscreen in their usual candybar form factor might be the smartest design decision they've made.  There are times I want to type on the keyboard and use the trackpad, and other times that I want to pinch-to-zoom.  With the hybrid design, I can use both to my heart's content.
  • The BlackBerry Bold 9930 is the best looking smartphone RIM has ever made.  Similar in shape to the Bold 9900, the 9930 features black plastic, a carbon fiber battery cover, and introduces a metal exterior housing.  It screams "PREMIUM!" at all times, and on looks alone, blows past most of the Android handsets and settles in right behind the iPhone 4 as one of the sexiest (yeah, I said it) smartphones out there.

  • The Bold 9930 is rocking a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon CPU, which is roughly twice the speed of the 624 MHz processor found in previous generation BlackBerrys.  It's fast.  Oddly fast for a BlackBerry.  Within the first few hours of using it, there were several times where I had to actually adjust my use because it was moving so quickly.
  • The keyboard.  Oh man, the keyboard.  Prior to the new crop of devices, my favorite BlackBerry was the Bold 9000.  The size was perfect, the display was vibrant, and perhaps most importantly, the keyboard was absolutely excellent.  I didn't think RIM could improve on an already great keyboard, but they did; the Bold 9930's keyboard is six percent larger than the 9000's, and the keys are more tactile.  I've been sending a number of emails, text messages, and BBM messages from the device, and haven't gotten tired of it yet.
  • The Bold comes with a 5-megapixel camera, and thanks to RIM's decision to exclude autofocus, camera performance is pretty bad.  Unless you're taking a picture outside from a reasonable distance, there's going to be some distortion.

  • The Bold 9930 is the thinnest BlackBerry yet, and the sacrifice comes in battery life.  With a 1,230 mAh battery combined with a fast processor, BlackBerry fans are going to see a noticeable decrease in battery life.  It's way too soon to post official battery life thoughts, but at this point, I'm struggling to make it through a day with moderate use.  
  • Yeah, it's a 3G only device.  Verizon's LTE radios are still bulky and in their infancy, leading to large devices.   Not only would the Bold 9930 have been substantially larger, battery life would have been even worse.  BlackBerry with the battery life of an Android device?  No thanks.
  • Despite the improvements, I found myself saying "seriously, RIM?  It's 2011!" a number of times:
    • BlackBerry App World continues to be way behind the competition, and if you're downloading apps, you have to stay on the download screen - you can't multitask.  Migrating away causes the app downloads to pause.
    • There's no ability to save applications to an SD card.  I understand that BlackBerry applications are relatively small in comparison to their iOS and Android counterparts, but it's still frustrating.
    • My biggest pet peeve about BlackBerry devices continues over into BlackBerry 7, and that's the inability to use the wireless radio when the battery gets too low.  Once the battery reaches a critical point, you can't use the wireless radio until it's charged back to a certain point, even when the charger is plugged in.  That just doesn't make sense.
  • I rarely mention pricing, but at $249.99 with a two-year agreement, the Bold 9930 is overpriced (I really feel bad for the T-Mobile folks that'll be paying $299.99).  At that price point, it's competing directly with the HTC ThunderBolt, Samsung DROID Charge, and LG Revolution - all 4G LTE smartphones.  Not to mention the iPhone 4 and its $199.99 price point.  Do I like the phone?  Absolutely.  Could I recommend it to others when they could get one of Verizon's 4G LTE devices for the same price, or better yet, the iPhone 4 for $50 less?  I doubt it.

    Pricing aside, I'm really impressed with the Bold 9930.  It's not going to woo many iOS or Android users over to the platform, but as a former BlackBerry user, it's the first device I see as a legitimate contender to the other platforms on the market.  The web browser is a tremendous improvement, the phone is incredibly fast, and the keyboard is the best on the market.  RIM still has some work to do, but the gap between "BlackBerry" and "everything else" has been bridged to a point where I could carry the 9930 on a regular basis and not feel l like I was missing out on features.  Unfortunately, RIM's brand has been tainted as of late, and that combined with a high price point may sway smartphone buyers to other platforms.

    Check out the unboxing video, and stay tuned for more coverage on the BlackBerry Bold 9930!

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103 Reactions to this post

"Can the BlackBerry Bold 9930 compete with iOS and Android?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
Thanks for your participation! :)

Joshua Becker
Joshua Becker No "Crapberry" can compete with ANY of those phones.
Luca Azzara
Luca Azzara In my opinion, the blackberry 9930 is a great upgrade from other blackberry models and blackberry platform 7 makes web browsing much easier and enjoyable.. the touch screen adds a modern kick to keep up with, well just about all the other phones that recently came out. As far as it keeping up with android of iOS, I do not think it can. The app store for blackberry is quite annoying and not all applications are available. I don't see many people upgrading to the 9930, mainly because of the over priceage . But I can definitely see long time blackberry dieheart users switching to the 9930 in no time, as far as android and iOS users.. eh.. I think they'll stick with what they have for no
Ron Smith
Ron Smith No way. Android is king! All hail Google and bow down to the ever changing/upgrading, outgoing, out performing, most sexy, mega app having operating system! Long live Android!
William Robles
William Robles No android best
Ernest Marvin Esteban
Ernest Marvin Esteban webOS is dead.. next on the list is.. BB and RIM
Ernest Marvin Esteban
Ernest Marvin Esteban lol! of course no! android and iOS is at a different level.. blackberry are for loosers
Ayoub Hage
Ayoub Hage D.O.A
Patrick Scot
Patrick Scot This is the Dumbest question you guys have ever asked. By the way WTF is a Blackberry?
Mohamed El Ayat
Mohamed El Ayat yes!
Matt Percan
Matt Percan NOPE
Mandel McGuire
Mandel McGuire Nope! The OS has too steep of a learning curve compared to IOS & Android. Android makes it in so many form factors & prices the choice is obvious.
Edward Patrick M. Acosta
Edward Patrick M. Acosta No.. Not anytime soon.. The only thing nice about bb's are bbm, awesome battery life, call quality and good reception! Other than that bb's will get their ass kicked hard!
Jamil Oquendo
Jamil Oquendo WebOs is dead, next to go will be BB.
Matt Michand
Matt Michand I just saw the review for the 9930, and thanks for helping me decide... I'm getting an iPhone.
Equaknox Knox
Equaknox Knox You r kidding with this question right...!!!!!!!
Luis Montoya
Luis Montoya Nevar!!
Javier Pineda
Javier Pineda Blackberry is dying =[
Ori Sanilevich
Ori Sanilevich Not with those crazy prices verizon ant Tmo are offering
Andri Croft
Andri Croft No. No. No. No
Pete Galluzzo
Pete Galluzzo They still make blackberrys
Tremaine Fowler
Tremaine Fowler 2 words.... Battery Life! RIM will keep its market share. They made a push before Android to be an everyday consumer phone with the Curve. Now they are going back to business and enterprise marketing. I will wait till it shows up on Craigslist for about 150 before I buy one. My 9650 is doing just fine.
Ethan Young
Ethan Young No! it's outdated and too expensive!
Daniel Pintor
Daniel Pintor It's a little to late for BB to try and compete with IOS or Android. Plus at its price $250, why would you get it over a 4G device.
Cesar Nd Ashley
Cesar Nd Ashley NO
José Francisco Anave Oporto
José Francisco Anave Oporto No
Michael Horn
Michael Horn Blackberry is dead it will never compete with iOS or android
Femi Sasona
Femi Sasona RIM will return to prominence. Mark my words. Trying to tell you guys that want to talk down on blackberry.
William Robles
William Robles No chance
Nicholas Wars
Nicholas Wars Nope.
Skye Villanueva
Skye Villanueva U should be asking....does rim have a chance against apple and Google
???? ???? ???????
???? ???? ??????? Nothing beats the sweet ass combination of android OS & hTC sense!
Leighton Chappell
Leighton Chappell Yes
Jacob Brown
Jacob Brown I Think it could, if it had a bigger touch screen and more applications! But personally, I think Rim should drop Blackberry OS and become a hardware only maker! There phones are EXCELLANT but the software is much dated.
Ricardo Contreras Jr.
Ricardo Contreras Jr. Black berry is died
Hector E Craig
Hector E Craig Wtf is a blackberry?
Joel Castro
Joel Castro Bye bye RIM.
Zoë Fisher
Zoë Fisher BB is CRAP - regret every second buying it
Michael Miller
Michael Miller With some people, yes.
Femi Sasona
Femi Sasona If you're talking devices alone no but what this device does show that RIM can compete with the other two operating systems. I think RIM OS getting warmed up. I'm looking forward to when QNX powered phones start to come out. Then I think RIM will definitely be back in the game. Would love to own a bold 9900 though no doubt. Blackberry 4 ever....
Orlando Gonzalez
Orlando Gonzalez Can it compete? With the current OS it runs.....no. Will it still sell? Yes. I'm an Android and BB owner. I still prefer my BB as a daily user. FOR ME, web browsing and turn-by-turn navigation are the biggest advantages that Android has. When it comes to battery life, texting, being efficient, shortcuts, speed, call quality and stability....I prefer my 9780. When the 9900 drops on T-Mobile, I plan on buying it.
Zachary Choate
Zachary Choate Nope
Brandon Friedman
Danny Lall
Danny Lall Nope I hate blackberry os!!!!!
Pierce G Hohenstein
Pierce G Hohenstein It may end up being a half way decent contender!
Patrick Singleton
Patrick Singleton Blackberry's shouldn't try.
Darryl Mouzone
Darryl Mouzone When I found out how much the phone was going to cost, no. You can buy an Android phone or an iPhone 4 for less. Also web browsing on a BlackBerry phone isn't that great. I know because I had one.
Kanwar Singh
Kanwar Singh No !!
Cory David Baxter
Cory David Baxter And ios is crashes just as much as or even more than blackberry
Keith Talsma
Keith Talsma Not a chance.....R.I.P. BB
Cory David Baxter
Cory David Baxter So what you want blackberry is not going anyway where some people don't want android or iPhone I used all three and its not about who's the more popular os its about which os works for your life and personally its like this my phone is android I have a ipad2 for teaching my little girl&entertainment and I use a windows seven laptop for work and such free market is what I'm say people still love blackberry if not we wouldn't be talking about it
Justin M. Houston
Justin M. Houston The correct answer to that is: "Not really."
Bob Mutton
Bob Mutton But... It wouldn't buy it. Windows phone and iOS is much better, And Android is just a copycat of a mix of windows mobile, windows phone, iOS, and webOS.... BlackBerry is smooth and it works...just 2005 software
Henrick Rawlins
Henrick Rawlins No
Brandon Coffey
Brandon Coffey Blackberry is still the strongest phone for business, it's more reliable and has a longer battery life, imo.
Matt Polkiewicz
Matt Polkiewicz No.
Bob Mutton
Bob Mutton Honestly Blackberry has one of the best OS, it is just outdated. Still does the job thou better than iOS and Android. Push email rocks plus, battery life is amazing.
Catherine L. Delosreyes
Catherine L. Delosreyes NO WAY!!!!!
Muhammad Faisal
Muhammad Faisal No way....i hate blackberry phones
Luis Arturo Batista Aquino
Luis Arturo Batista Aquino no...
Shawn Poling
Shawn Poling No sorry
Allyson McAtamney
Allyson McAtamney Blackberry doesn't stand a CHANCE! Androids and iPhones r the BEST! Blackberries SUCKKK!!!
Tree Nguyen
Tree Nguyen yes dood i had android before!
Martyono Sembodo
Martyono Sembodo In Indonesia BBM is very popular since people here love texting too much. But BB still has a long way to go to be competing with android & ios.
John Stelmack
John Stelmack yes, I want to give it a try
Rushabh Shah
Rushabh Shah Stands No Were...! iOS is D Best :D
Iliana Villalta
Iliana Villalta LOL! No need to ask such question, dude.
Joe Hernandez
Joe Hernandez Hell no!!!! Android rules and will continue to rule..
Jonathan Carrillo
Jonathan Carrillo Never
Larry McDuffie
Larry McDuffie No, but that doesn't stop me from getting one.
Jesus Lopez R
Jesus Lopez R Since when blackberry surpassed apple and android?
Larry Ayonn
Larry Ayonn @Steve Clark- IDK, ask IOS users that!
Larry Ayonn
Larry Ayonn Too little, too late. This is the device that should have been released 2-3+ years ago....maybe people like me (who loved their blackberry) wouldn't have switched to an Android device. I don't ever see myself going back either.
John Stephens
John Stephens Competes w/ WebOS maybe...
Gary Brown
Gary Brown Blackberry bold 9900 is nice but its the Motorola Droid the first one. They need to work on the OS but the blackberry fan is different from other fans so they should love it.
Artefacto Misántropo
Artefacto Misántropo Noooot!
Carlos Quinones
Carlos Quinones I don't think they're in the same league. I still think blackberries are the best messaging and email devices. They also have killer battery life and call quality. But without a really robust app store and games, it wont touch android or ios. It will always fall short. That doesn't mean it won't be an awesome device. I think the 9930 and 9900 look awesome. The browser looks extremely smooth, so does the rest of the interface. It sort of reminds me of the palm OS. Super smooth and nice, but lacking that "oomph" u find on iOS and android.
John Arthur Jr.
John Arthur Jr. Never
Michael Ducylowycz
Michael Ducylowycz I wouldn't have wasted the digital space to ask that question...unless they adopt QNX into their handhelds they are going to end up in the same boat as PALM was. iOS and Android is where it's at. I wouldn't consider Windows Phone as a contender.
Steve Williams
Steve Williams why would you get a phone thats more expensive with less features...i dont understand!
Don Kenyon
Don Kenyon I think Blackberrys are going to start getting phased out. Android has been getting a ton of apps. for business IOS has been getting more and more. I'm not sure if blackberry can keep up. Not sure if the Consumer will want to go to blackberry. In the short of it, I say NO
Cameron Pearson
Cameron Pearson No
Maryck Brown
Maryck Brown the only good thing that comes from a BB is BBM thats all otherwise it sucks realy bad
Bashir Ahmed Yusuf
Bashir Ahmed Yusuf Please remove this sour to eye Blog post pleeeeeeaaaasssssseeeeeeee its making me remember all that is wrong with so many products
John Guevara
John Guevara lmfaoooo noo
Edgar Gonzalez
Edgar Gonzalez If I ever got a BB it would be this one...but nah thanks. Apple will be president soon.
Cory David Baxter
Cory David Baxter Cyanogen rules
Cory David Baxter
Cory David Baxter Stop comparing everything to ios please the 9930 is a great improvement from what rim has put out in this past...#trolling
Jon Recinos
Jon Recinos Short answer: No. Long answer: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
Joernie Berrios
Joernie Berrios BlackBerry's are lame.!
Dan-Petra Armstrong
Dan-Petra Armstrong BB will never be able to compete with android. The people in charge of BB failed to keep up with what the people wanted from their phones.
Pedro Rodriguez
Pedro Rodriguez Not now. Not never if they keep rolling like that
Robert Skeen
Robert Skeen Not a chance
Daniel Edwards
Daniel Edwards I seriously doubt it, you can't even call the improvements real improvements. processor not fast enough, lacks apps, not going to make it bb, bring out qnx. http://www.wesisearch.com/blog/?p=54
George Kosta Petroff
George Kosta Petroff Android will bury blackberry RIP
Michelle Snyder
Michelle Snyder BB sucks! I <3 Andoird!
Kris Reno Harris
Kris Reno Harris BB interface always looks like something from the old palm days, we're talking 2006 style. Plus all the apps look so basic, like old java apps :P
Joel Charles
Marcia Jacobs
Marcia Jacobs I will be testing this week...but doubt it..
Aldo Gallinar
Aldo Gallinar Nope. Never.
Matt Miletic
Matt Miletic NEVER!!! ANDROID RULES!!!
Luis Robles Figueroa
Luis Robles Figueroa No... cause it is not dual core. They compete when the QNX OS hit the market.
Robert Nino
Robert Nino No..BlackBerry needs to have a better os..clearly BB is lacking in innovation!
Joel Charles

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