Vodafone Brings Blackberry Bold 9700 To Britain

Mobility

Vodafone has confirmed that the replacement for the Blackberry Bold will be available in the UK next week

The new BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone will be available next week in the UK, mobile operator Vodafone has confirmed.

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The Bold 9700 is a more refined smartphone offering than the original Bold, which while being a powerful device with a lot of storage, rich multimedia capabilities and excellent audio, ultimately disappointed in several areas.

The 9700 is a slimmed-down update of the original Bold, and weighs just 4.27 ounces, down from its predecessor’s 4.8 ounces. It measures 4.29 by 2.36 by 0.56 inches, versus 4.48 by 2.60 by 0.59 inches. The track ball has been replaced with a faster-navigating trackpad and there’s a quick 624MHz processor.

RIM has sought to go for a more refined look with a dark chrome frame, soft-touch sides and a back panel covered in what RIM calls “leatherette,” to boost its in-hand appeal. It supports 3G HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) networks around the world and offers built-in Wi-Fi 802.11b/g – a change from the original Bold, which supports 802.11a as well, in addition to dual-band 900/1800Mhz GSM/GPRS networks.

And it seems as though the device has been well received. Avi Greengart, an analyst with Currently Analysis, indicated that he views the excitement as warranted. “The RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 … is quite simply the best BlackBerry RIM has ever built. While the Bold will not dissuade anyone from buying an iPhone or Android device if they are looking for a touch-screen smartphone, it should keep the BlackBerry faithful very happy,” Greengart wrote to eWEEK.

The Bold 9700’s display has been boosted to 480 by 360 pixels, the standby time is up from 10 days to 19 days, and the talk time has jumped from 4 hours to 6 hours on both GSM and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) networks. Like the Storm2, the 9700 has been updated to BlackBerry OS 5, which is said to offer a better user experience with improved browsing, faster JavaScript and CSS processing, and enhancements to calendar and email management.

There’s a desktop manager for both Macs and PCs, a media player for videos, pictures and music, support for BlackBerry Internet Service and Enterprise Server, and of course access to BlackBerry’s App World.

Additional features include a 3.2-megapixel camera; A-GPS, which in addition to providing directions can be used to geotag photos with location information; a 3.5-millimetre stereo headset jack; and a MicroSD and SDHD memory card slot.

In the UK, Vodafone has confirmed that the device is now available on a pre-order basis from its website. The handset is available free of charge on pay monthly price plans from £35 with 600 minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited BlackBerry Internet Service, unlimited Vodafone Mobile Internet and broadband.

In the United States, it will be offered by T-Mobile and AT&T where it will cost $199.99 with a service contract and a $100 mail-in rebate.

Based on original reporting by Michelle Maisto.


Author: Tom Jowitt
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