One of the great things about working in the mobile industry is that there's always something new. RIM unveiled its new Bold 9900/9930 at BlackBerry World this week and we got a closer look at BlackBerry OS 7, previously known as 6.1. This is an aggressive product for RIM to release and one that finally seems to belong in the modern cellular world. Opinions differ on how much of an impact it will have and if it's even worthy of a second look. We talked about this during this week's PhoneDog Live along with Samsung's new phone, the Infuse 4G.
When I first heard about the new Bold and all of the improvements it would bring, I was instantly excited about it and thought that RIM would finally have a truly high-end smartphone that can compete in today's market. The thought never entered my mind that this phone wouldn't be good enough for consumers. The 1.2 GHz processor, touchscreen display, and 5-megapixel camera that captures HD video seemed like top-notch features that would satisfy anyone. Several bloggers disagree. Have we been so spoiled by rumors of dual-core phones that a powerful 1.2 GHz processor no longer pleases us? I say "rumors" because most of these phones with supposed dual-core processors either haven't been released or haven't even been confirmed. There's what, three major phones on the market with a dual-core processor and now we're complaining that 1.2 GHz isn't enough?
Admittedly, I do think it was a mistake for RIM to rename OS 6.1 to OS 7. Going from OS 6 to OS 7 makes you think you're getting a major upgrade with either a completely new design or dramatically different features. This new version does bring some new features like NFC support (as pointless as it may sound), new sensors, an improved web browser that is supposed to be 30% faster, and "Liquid Graphics", but for the most part, most people will not notice any dramatic changes and I think that's why people are so disappointed with the Bold 9900. It seems like it's the same old thing. Deciding to go with version 7 instead of 6.1 sets the bar a little too high. I know RIM needs to be aggressive and ambitious, but perhaps this was a little too ambitious.
Then again, if you really think about these improvements, they are kind of a big deal. NFC support - that's kinda big. A web browser that's 30% faster - I think most BlackBerry users would say that's huge. And that, coupled with the Liquid Graphics idea, actually seems to have eliminated the "checkerboarding" problem that a lot of BlackBerries have and at least gets rid of a lot of the lag that most BlackBerries suffer from. And let's get real people; this is still a BlackBerry after all. There's a reason why the main features that are demoed are productivity features. This is not a multimedia phone for gaming and was never meant to be. If you're expecting that, then yes, you will be disappointed.
Well, regardless of what you think about the Bold, the new Infuse 4G is sure to make a lot of people happy. This phone is a monster, and not just in terms of the spec sheet. It features a large 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display. That's huge. This beast also does not have a dual-core processor but it does feature Samsung's 1.2 GHz Hummingbird processor that I'm sure is pretty fast. Along with the processor speed, the data speeds should be pretty fast too as it is compatible with AT&T's HSPA+ network and will be capable of reaching 14.4 Mbps. It is also the thinnest 4G device measuring only 8.99mm in depth. The Infuse ships with TouchWiz, so keep that in mind if it's not your favorite UI. I'm excited about this one and I can't wait to see Aaron's full review of it. In the meantime, you can watch his unboxing of the phone.
If you'd like to watch the next episode of PhoneDog Live, we'll be broadcasting every Friday at 5 p.m. from our Ustream channel. You can watch it directly from Ustream or from our Facebook page. We experienced a lot of technical difficulties during this week's show so the video won't be on our YouTube channel.