Sprint has introduced its first two smartphones running Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry OS 7. This marks the debut of the BlackBerry Torch 9850, a phone designed for fans of touchscreen-oriented devices. The Bold 9930, on the other hand, is for those who prefer a more traditional BlackBerry.
Both run the latest version of RIM's operating system for smartphones. This offers a significantly faster web browser than the previous version. RIM has also added speech-to-text capabilities and augmented reality software.
Faced with declining sales in recent quarters, RIM working to create new handsets that appeal to both business users and consumers. The launch of BlackBerry OS 7 is an interim step as the company works toward its first smartphones based on QNX, the same OS that its PlayBook tablet runs on.
The New Torch
The BlackBerry Torch 9850 has a design built around its 3.7-inch 800 x 480 touchscreen, and does not have a physical keyboard. It uses a single-core 1.2GHz processor and includes a 5-megapixel camera.
Several years ago, RIM offered the Storm line of high-end, touchscreen-oriented smartphones. Unlike these, the Torch 9850 is selling for a mid-range price: $150 with a two-year wireless contract. The lower price for the Torch 9850 is clearly intended to appeal to a new audience.
The Latest Bold
The BlackBerry Bold 9930 sports a 2.8-inch 640 x 480 (VGA) touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard. Like the Torch 9850, it feature a 5-megapixel camera and a single-core 1.2GHz processor.
Possibly the standout features of this model is a Touchscreen -- no previous model in RIM's popular Bold series has had one. This is part of the company's drive to appeal to new customers.
Verizon stole a march on Sprint by launching its own version of this smartphone last Monday. Both of these offer 3G, Wi-Fi. Bluetooth, and GPS.
Sprint beats its larger rival in one area, however: price. It is asking $200 for the Bold 9930 with a two-year wireless service contract, which is $50 less than Verizon.
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