Canadian smartphone manufacturer RIM, has announced that it will be launching the successor to the Bold 9000 which was launched back in 2008 and will be called the Bold 9700.
The phone keeps the QWERTY keyboard but loses the pearl trackball which is replaced by an optical trackpad, something that we've seen on another smartphone as well, the Nokia E72 and the Curve 8520.
The Bold 9700 is thinner and slightly lighter than its predecessor and has a screen size of 2.44-inch with a slightly improved screen resolution (480x360 vs 480x320 pixels). It keeps the same Marvell Tavor processor running at 624MHz with 256MB memory, A-GPS, WiFi and Blackberry OS 5.0
The rest of the configuration is hopelessly uninspiring; 3.5mm headphone plug, a 3.2-megapixel camera (with autofocus and Flash), WiFi, 3G, a microSD card reader and an estimated talk time of six hours (or two days on stand by).
Some might say that RIM is cutting on corners with a faux leather battery cover and swapping the metal outer-casing for plastic outer keys, ouch. Note that the 9700 will come with a 2GB microSD card.
Mike Lazaridis, CEO of RIM, said that "Emails will arrive in the handset as soon as they arrive on the desktop, and the same applies for apps such as Facebook. Emails and applications simply run better on BlackBerry."
There have been no confirmation as to when the smartphone will be launched, on which network it will be available and how much it will cost, either per month or on PAYG. A quick look around shows that the Blackberry Bold can be obtained SIM Free for as little as £400.
The Bold 9700 is an evolution rather than a revolution in the Blackberry range. It is still aimed at the same audience that adopts Blackberry primarily for its keyboard feature, a functionality that other manufacturers have yet to master. With the new Storm 2 and the 9700 already out, end of 2009 is expected to be extremely interesting.