RIM announces latest BlackBerry Bold 9790 and all-touch Curve 9380 phones

If you have ever needed convincing that manufacturers are finally fully switching to touch screens, this is it. The latest (cheaper) BlackBerry Bold, the 9790, will now also sport a touch screen and keyboard similiar to the Bold 9900 (which we loved). What is perhaps more interesting is that the new Curve 9380 will be touch only.
RIM has had a bad history with touch-only devices. The Storm and Storm 2 were big failures, despite sporting “clicky” touch screens that was supposed to simulate the feedback of a keyboard, but with a touch screen. Turns out BlackBerry users are quite attached to the their keyboards, so this is indeed a risky move for RIM to try a third time with an all touch device. Maybe it is third time lucky? Specs are pretty scarce right now, with RIM only stating a “brilliant 3.2 inch display” and 512 MB of internal storage. You might want to upgrade that with MicroSD card. Update: Turns out it runs a 800MHz processor.

The Bold 9790 is likely to keep the crackberry addicts happy though – it uses both a smaller touch screen and a phsyical keyboard, so you are free to use the device any way you choose. It has 8GB of storage and a 1GHz processor. not quite Bold 9900 specs, but it should be a good deal cheaper.
In terms of software, both phones will be running BlackBerry OS7, a somewhat subdued upgrade from OS 6, and not quite BBX which is where RIM’s future focus lies. Both of them will also come standard with Documents to Go Premium, which is great for quick on the go creation and editing of Office documents. RIM is also shipping BlackBerry Balance right on the device which is interesting, especially for enterprise IT departments. Once you get your Blackberry on the company BES service, you can now split the interface between personal and work modes.
Both will also sport GPS functionality and NFC antennas. While NFC is not really in use yet, it is good to see that RIM is spreading the functionality across its range. Both also use 5 megapixel cameras, which only shoots 640×480 video. Come one RIM, that 1GHz processor in the Bold can surely do better right?
The Bold 9790 looks like a great bet, provided RIM can bring it in at a good price. The Curve 9380 is a different story – we will reserve judgement until we have tried one. Previous keyboard-less BlackBerry devices were not great, and that lack of attention to the specs might hold a few gotchas…
Find the press release attached below:
The new smartphones offer impressively slim and stylish designs with enhanced communications, multimedia, productivity and social connectivity features. The BlackBerry Bold 9790 is both powerful and compact, offering users a fully loaded, high performance smartphone with the dual benefits of a high resolution touch display and a highly tactile keyboard. The BlackBerry Curve 9380 is the first-ever BlackBerry® Curveâ„¢ smartphone with a touch display. It continues to deliver the powerful social experiences, ease-of-use and smaller handset size that distinguish the BlackBerry Curve family, while also offering Curve users the choice of a larger display and an all-touch design.
“We are very excited to expand the BlackBerry 7 portfolio with the new BlackBerry Bold 9790 and BlackBerry Curve 9380,“ said Carlo Chiarello, Senior Vice President, Handheld Product Management at Research In Motion. “œBlackBerry smartphones offer a uniquely refined mobile communications experience that people love and we think many customers will be thrilled by the faster performance, beautiful touch displays and compact designs available with these new BlackBerry 7 based models.“
BlackBerry Bold 9790 Smartphone with Touch Display and Keyboard
True to the BlackBerry Bold brand, the new BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone is powerful, full-featured and built with premium materials and finishes. It combines a high-resolution and highly responsive touch display with a highly tactile keyboard and a precise optical trackpad, but comes in a narrow design that is easy to carry and exceptionally comfortable to hold. With the BlackBerry 7 OS and powerful 1 GHz processor, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 delivers fast, smooth performance for browsing the web, running apps, working with documents, and enjoying multimedia. It includes 8GB of onboard memory and an expandable memory card slot that supports up to 32 GB of additional storage.
All-Touch BlackBerry Curve 9380 Smartphone
The finely crafted BlackBerry Curve 9380 is the first all-touch smartphone in the BlackBerry Curve family. It features a highly responsive and brilliant 3.2“ high resolution display and comes with preinstalled social networking apps, including BBMâ„¢ (BlackBerry® Messenger), Facebook®, Twitterâ„¢ and Social Feeds apps, that offer a fun, easy and smoothly integrated mobile experience. This compact and stylish handset also features a 5MP camera with flash and video recording, allowing users to easily capture and share their favorite moments with family, friends and colleagues.
Powerful BlackBerry 7 OS
The BlackBerry Bold 9790 and BlackBerry Curve 9380 are both powered by the new BlackBerry 7 OS, which delivers a faster and richer user experience with improved browsing, voice-activated searches, and support for Augmented Reality and NFC (Near Field Communications). It also includes the ability to manage personal content separately from corporate content, and comes with a variety of personal and productivity apps out of the box.
BlackBerry 7 also introduces an enhanced browser that provides a significantly faster, more fluid web browsing experience. The browser includes a new JIT (just in time) JavaScript compiler to improve the load time speed of web pages and it offers optimized HTML5 performance for incredible gaming and video experiences. The popular universal search capability has also been enhanced with support for voice-activated search, so users can simply speak to begin searching their device and the web for information.
The BlackBerry Bold 9790 and BlackBerry Curve 9380 smartphones include built-in support for Augmented Reality and NFC, allowing users to connect with the world around them in fresh new ways. With the Wikitude Augmented Reality application, users can find nearby BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) contacts in real-time, read reviews on restaurants close to them, or get the story behind an interesting landmark and points of interest. NFC also enables many new and exciting capabilities, including the ability to make mobile payments, pair accessories or read SmartPoster tags with a simple tap of the smartphone.
BlackBerry 7 includes a number of preinstalled applications and integrated functionality for increasing productivity and easy sharing and collaboration right out of the box. The Premium version of Documents To Go is included free of charge, offering users powerful document editing features as well as a native PDF document viewer. BlackBerry® Protect is pre-loaded*, offering customers the peace of mind that personal data can be backed up and secured in the cloud. BlackBerry® Balance is integrated in BlackBerry 7, allowing users to enjoy the full BlackBerry smartphone experience for both work and personal purposes without compromising the IT department‘s need for advanced security and IT controls. The Social Feeds (2.0) app has been extended to capture updates from media and favorites all in one consolidated view. The Facebook for BlackBerry smartphones (2.0) app introduces features like Facebook chat and BBM integration that makes it easier for users to connect with their Facebook friends in real time.
The BlackBerry Bold 9790 and BlackBerry Curve 9380 smartphones will begin to be available from various carriers around the world over the coming weeks. Availability dates for specific devices from specific carriers will be announced in conjunction with RIM‘s partners.