Blackberry Bold 9900 – the most powerful enterprise phone on earth

The last month has seen mobile-phones breach two important power barriers — the 1 GHz speed threshold and the move beyond one core.

LG Optimus 2X was the first phone to breach the latter, while Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Sensation crossed both the GHz barrier as well as the single core barrier.

While all this is great news for teenagers and youngsters who could now play ‘angry birds’ on the glorious 4.3 inch screens, there was very little coming the way of the serious phone user — the kind who bother with emails, spreadsheets and security.

Until now.

Research In Motion India has just announced that it will be launching the ‘Blackberry Bold 9900’ very soon in India.

“Blackberry Bold 9900?” you may ask. Doesn’t quite have the ring of “Galaxy S2” or “HTC Sensation,” does it?

Poor naming aside, the Blackberry bold represents probably the single biggest leap in power for the Canadian smartphone-maker. It is also represents the first time the much harried, corporate email addict can get his hands on some high-speed goodness and not have to cast envious glances at his or her teenage son playing, angry birds.

The phone has a lot going for it, at least from the early specs released by RIM. First, like the Galaxy S2 and HTC Sensation and others, this too has a heart beating at 1.2 GHz.

The step up in power in enormous, particularly for phones with enterprise features or a qwerty physical keypad.

The closest competitor to the Bold 9900 from the Blackberry stable is the Torch, released in the second half of last year.

It, however, has a 624 MHz processor with no graphics unit.

In addition to the higher speed, it has a separate processor to help in video and display chores, thus taking a load off the main processor and increasing the overall power of the phone.

In this respect, the closest competitor to the Bold 9900 is the Nokia E7, released five months ago. While the E7 too has a physical keypad and a separate graphics processor, it runs on an operating system (Symbian) that is on its way out and has a 684 MHz processor (0.68 GHz).

At 768 MB, the Bold 9900 has three times the RAM of Nokia E7, arguably the most well-endowed enterprise phone in the market today, and equals the HTC Sensation in this regard.

It is not just the raw power that makes the new Blackberry Bold 9900 the “Galaxy S” of the enterprise world.

Thanks to the power and the presence of the new graphics processor, the Canadian smartphone maker has decided to splurge on the visual effects and graphics side as well. The new “liquid graphics” are unlike the rather matter-of-fact animations and user interface of the old Blackberry.

The Bold 9900 (seriously, they should find a name for this thing) will also be the first to sport the new version of the Blackberry operating system, including a new, powerful browser.

It doesn’t end there. For those who care as much about the looks as the internals, the 9900 is the most iPhonesque Blackberry ever seen.

It has a larger display than usual, at 2.8 inches compared to the standard 2.4 to 2.6 inches on most candy bar qwerty phones, enabling a bigger keypad as well. The screen resolution, in terms of the fineness of the grain, is second only to the iPhone4. Like the iPhone4, the 0.3 megapixel 9900 display too is ‘retina beating.’

In other words, with 78% more pixels than the Blackberry Torch, the human eye is not able to detect any ‘graininess’ (individual dots) on the display when held at a distance of one foot or more, as is usual. They see a continuous object, rather than a constructed object.

In addition, it is, as RIM puts it “the thinnest Blackberry handset ever!” Overall, thanks to its slimmer profile and aluminum wrap/body, it does indeed come across as an exercise in industrial minimalism that Apple designs have come to symbolize.

Other notable features include a music store (yeah, you read it right) and HD (not full HD) recording on the five-megapixel camera.

All in all, the Blackberry Bold is an notable phone because of two factors —

1) RIM is sticking to what it does best — instead of designing large-display touch-only phones that try to imitate the iPhone or the Galaxy, it is targeting its core audience — professionals who want more than just a big display with lots of power behind it.

2) Even as it has stuck to its classic design, RIM has managed to pack as many goodies into the phone as its design would allow. In other words, if you like the candy-bar form factor or you simply addicted to it, a phone can’t get better than this, at least for another 6 months to a year.

The phone is yet to be released (anywhere), but going by the RIM India mailer, India too should see its release as it hits the market this summer.


Samsung Galaxy S2 — better than HTC Sensation & Apple iPhone4?

PS: The story had mistakenly stated that the processor is dual-core. This was the result of mistaken notion, apparently set off by wrong advertising by a prominent European vendor. Mistake has been rectified (thanks to the commenter below), with apologies.