The Bold 9900 is available for pre-order on Vodafone, while Nokia’s MeeGo N9 is set to arrive next month
Research in Motion is close to offering UK customers a new handset after the Blackberry Bold 9900 became available for pre-order on the Vodafone Website. Meanwhile, it seems that Nokia’s MeeGo powered Nokia N9 is set to arrive on 23 September, according to Nokia’s Swedish-based Website.
This is despite the fact the N9, which first came to light back in June, will be Nokia’s first – and last – smartphone running the Linux-based MeeGo operating system.
BlackBerry Bold 9900
RIM first revealed two new Bold smartphones, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the BlackBerry Bold 9930, way back in early May (the 9930 is a CDMA version for the US market).
The company claimed at that time that they were its thinnest BlackBerry smartphones yet, measuring just 10.5mm thick (slightly thicker than the 9.3mm of the iPhone 4).
Looks-wise, the new handsets are pretty much the same as previous Bold models as they feature the company’s traditional QWERTY keyboard. The new handset uses a more powerful 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor and it comes with a 2.8-inch, VGA (640×480) capacitive touchscreen, too.
However the Bold 9900 also offers something new for RIM users: Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for mobile payments. Vodafone says it has not disabled this feature but, of course, Vodafone does not run a NFC service at this time.
Other specs include 8GB of onboard memory (expandable to 32GB); dual band Wi-Fi; five-megapixel camera with a 720p HD video recording; GPS; and a built-in compass (magnetometer).
Another point that makes this handset so interesting, besides combining a touchscreen and a traditional QWERTY keyboard, is that it runs the latest BlackBerry 7 OS. When eWEEK Europe UK got its hands on the new Bold 9900 at its launch last week in London, we found the updated OS to both look and feel fresh, and navigation is both logical and smooth. The touchscreen and software updates also improve the Web browsing experience.
The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is now available for pre-order on the Vodafone UK Website, and the operator said it would deliver the new model into customers’ hands on or near to 16 August. According to a Vodafone spokesman, it will also appear in Vodafone’s high street shops at the same time.
Vodafone UK said it does not release information on how many pre-orders it has so far received, but did point out that it has only just gone on pre-order. “We are hoping to be one of the first operators in the UK to offer the device,” Vodafone told eWEEK Europe UK.
The arrival of the Bold 9900 could prove to a welcome shot in the arm for RIM, which has been struggling with falling sales, job losses, and analyst concerns. The fact that it runs BlackBerry 7 OS should help its transition to the long expected arrival of QNX-powered BlackBerries.
Meanwhile Nokia’s MeeGo powered N9 handset, which first surfaced in June, is expected to be officially released on 23 September according to Nokia’s Website. It even has a dedicated Nokia N9 Web page featuring a countdown timer that will end on 23 September.
Among the N9′s features is a polycarbonate casing, something Nokia said will improve the phone’s wireless reception, a 3.9-inch curved AMOLED screen with a 480×854-pixel resolution. The phone has no buttons, with users returning to the home screen via a ‘swipe’ gesture.
The handset uses a 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM memory; an eight-megapixel camera and a dual LED flash; and it can record 720p video.
In June, CEO Stephen Elop “privately previewed” a Nokia device, said to look very much like the N9, running Windows Phone 7 at the operating system, not MeeGo.
Officially, however, Nokia has not yet revealed when, or indeed if, the N9 will appear in the UK or anywhere else in Europe.