This post originally appeared in the ZDNet Between the Lines blog.
While RIM's big announcement of the first day of WES 2010 was the resurrection of the Pearl series with the BlackBerry Pearl 3G, the company also showed off its new CDMA version of the BlackBerry Bold. Called the BlackBerry Bold 9650, the new high-end smartphone helps RIM standardize the devices across the top of its product line.
See also: RIM melds BlackBerry with PBX handsets
RIM President Mike Lazaridis said, "The new BlackBerry Bold 9650 is an extraordinary smartphone that we think customers will love. Whether at work or at play, the new BlackBerry Bold 9650 offers a truly impressive communications, multimedia and connectivity experience."
The Bold 9650 has essentially the same features as the Bold 9700, which is already on AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S., Bell and Rogers in Canada, and several other smaller GSM carriers. The Bold 9650 will obviously be aimed at CDMA/EVDO carriers Sprint and Verizon Wireless in the U.S. so that North American businesses can easily standardize on the device. That's important because some companies are starting to use the Bold as a replacement to the universally-available BlackBerry Curve.
Here's a quick summary of the primary features of the 9650:
- 480×360 display
- CDMA/EVDO + UMTS/HSPA and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM (for global roaming)
- 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi
- 512 MB of RAM
- microSD/SDHC slot for up to 32 GB of storage (2 GB card included)
- 3.2 MP camera
- Optical trackpad
- Full HTML Web browser
- BlackBerry Media Sync (connects to iTunes)
Keep in mind that Verizon, Sprint and other CDMA carriers already have a similar product called the BlackBerry Tour 9630. The Bold 9650 adds two main upgrades to the Tour: 1.) It replaces the trackball with the new trackpad, and 2.) It adds Wi-Fi, which is increasingly important for fixed-mobile convergence to save cellular charges.UPDATED 4/26, 9:45AM: Sprint announced Monday that the Bold 9650 will be available on its network on May 23. Get smartphones tips and news in your inbox TechRepublic's Smartphones newsletter, delivered each Thursday, features tips on how to deploy and manage smartphones in your enterprise, product reviews, news updates, photo galleries, and more. Automatically sign up today!
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).