BlackBerry 7 Lineup Looks Good on Paper

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-08-07 Print this article Print

The company is hoping that the new faster browser, the new faster hardware platform and the new capacitive touch-screen, along with new applications, will get attention from people who aren't iPhone advocates. RIM is also likely hoping that the ability to get a real keyboard that's easy to type on will also make a difference to people who just don't like touch-screens.

Another new capability that will make the new BlackBerry devices an alternative to the iPhone is the ability to use 4G from AT&T and T-Mobile. AT&T will be offering 4G-capable versions of the Torch 9810, the Bold 9900 and the Torch 9860, which is the all-touch version of the Torch. T-Mobile will start with the Bold 9900, which has both a touch-screen and a keyboard in the standard BlackBerry layout. A company spokesperson told eWEEK that RIM will make announcements later about other new BlackBerry devices.

Sprint isn't getting 4G, but it is getting the Bold 9930 and Torch 9850 all-touch devices. Sprint's BlackBerry phones are global phones that support both CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM and will work nearly anywhere in the world, as will the AT&T and T-Mobile devices. Right now, there's no word from Verizon Wireless regarding the new BlackBerry devices, but close examination of the specs shows that the CDMA versions of the Bold and Torch will work with Verizon's network and its 3G data services. There is currently no support for Verizon's LTE (Long-Term Evolution) service on the new devices.

On paper, the new BlackBerry lineup looks pretty good. The question of whether they'll stem RIM's decline depends on how good they actually are. In the past, RIM has made very solid hardware that worked as well or better than most of its competitors. Email and enterprise support has always been the BlackBerry sweet spot. But as well as these devices work, they've never been accused of being cool. In fact, the word utilitarian comes to mind. For example, while a BlackBerry will let you watch a video if you so desire, I don't think I'd want to watch a movie on one of the current models. I might consider watching a movie on an iPhone or Android device.

So it really boils down to how well BlackBerry hardware works in comparison to the competition and how well supplied the BlackBerry AppWorld is. These days, the applications are a lot of what sells a smart phone, and there needs to be a lot of applications that work with BB OS7 if this phone is going to sell. 


Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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