RIM launched three BlackBerry 7 smartphones on August 3rd and hosted a BB7 Fan Night on the same day in Toronto. We attended the event and had some hands-on time with all three new BlackBerry touchscreen smartphones, the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, the BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860 and the BlackBerry Torch 9810 that will come out soon on AT&T. All three devices have much improved speed on OS tasks, such as screen scrolling, app launching, as well as web browsing and HTML5 video playback from previous BlackBerry smartphones. These new BlackBerry devices also feature the new BBM 6 (BlackBerry Messenger 6) that integrates with PIM apps, social networking apps as well as third-party apps such as FourSquare, games and AR apps including Wikitude that's demo'ed at the event. RIM has released the API for the BBM 6 and invites developers to integrate their apps with the messaging app.
We played with the Sprint version of the BlackBerry Torch 9860 with a 3.7" touchscreen and no hardware keyboard (the spiritual successor to the Storm 2). The on screen keyboard mimics the functions of a hardware QWERTY keyboard, such as shortcut keys and function keys, and it was very easy to use. Gone is the SurePress keyboard, and that's a good thing. The phone has a curved back and is comfortable when you hold it in landscape orientation. The touch screen is very responsive and looks bright and sharp.
Here is our hands-on video of these new BlackBerry 7 devices:
Here are key specs for each of the new BlackBerry 7 smartphones:
BlackBerry Bold 9900:
Display: 2.8" multi-touch display, 640 x 480 resolution, 287ppi Memory: 8GB on board, microSD card slot supporting up to 32GB card Camera: 5 megapixel camera with flash, 720p HD video capture GPS: Integrated GPS and aGPS WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz a/n Network: Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDG, Tri-band HSPA+/UMT Battery: Up to 6.3 hours talk time on GSM, up to 5.9 hours talk time on UMTS. Up to 50 hours audio playback and 7.4 hours video playback.
BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860:
Display: 3.7" multi-touch display powered by Liquid Graphics technology Memory: 4GB on board, microSD card slot supporting up to 32GB card Camera: 5 megapixel camera with flash, 720p HD video capture GPS: Integrated GPS and aGPS WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n Network: Dual band CDMA, EVDO Rev. A; Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Single band UMTS 2100MHz Battery: Up to 6.8 hours talk time on CDMA, up to 6.1 hours talk time on UMTS. Up to 50.2 hours audio playback and 6.6 hours video playback.
BlackBerry Torch 9810:
Display: 3.2" multi-touch display Camera: 5 megapixel camera with flash, 720p HD video capture GPS: Integrated GPS and aGPS WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n Network: Supports 2G, 3G and HSPA+ voice and data networks Battery: Up to 6.5 hours talk time on GSM, up to 5.9 hours talk time on UMTS. Up to 54 hours audio playback and 7 hours video playback.