RIM's new NFC-capable BlackBerry Bold heading to T-Mobile USA

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) kicked off its annual BlackBerry World conference and Capital Markets Day with the release of a new version of its Blackberry Bold smartphone along with a slew of software enhancements. The confab comes days after RIM issued a profit and revenue warning for its current quarter on weaker BlackBerry sales.

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900 9300

Click here for details on RIM's new BlackBerry Bold.

RIM said the new device, which comes in two different radio variants, is RIM's thinnest BlackBerry ever at 10.5mm. The device also sports RIM's new BlackBerry OS 7, which the company said features improved Web browsing with support for HTML5, voice-activated searches, the ability to manage personal content separately from corporate content, and new personal and productivity apps.

The Bold 9900/9300 offers a 1.2 GHz processor, can play and record 720p HD video, offers new "Liquid Graphics," and supports Near Field Communications technology--the first time RIM has put NFC capabilities into its devices. RIM has been hinting for months that it would add NFC to its gadgets; the technology is intended for mobile payments, among other applications.

The Bold 9900 supports HSPA+ connectivity and the 9930 supports CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and HSPA+ global roaming on GSM/UMTS networks. RIM said the devices will be available this summer.

T-Mobile USA announced it will sell the 9900 later this year, though the carrier did not provide details. T-Mobile is a member of the Isis mobile payment venture, which includes Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T).

In addition to the new device, RIM also announced its BlackBerry Balance software, which it has been previewing for months. The software essentially creates a barrier between users' personal and work lives--users are unable to copy business information onto Facebook, Twitter and GMail, for example. If a user attempts an action that is prohibited by their IT department, a notification is displayed on the device. Further, IT managers can remotely wipe business information from the device while leaving personal information intact.

But attendees at the BlackBerry conference have not seen a glimpse at RIM devices running QNX software. RIM has said it will start transitioning its devices to the new platform early next year.

RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said last week that that transition will take time, but that he is excited about the future of the company, which analysts and investors worry is not doing enough to keep up with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) in smartphones. "All things being equal, we would love to have these products earlier," Balsillie said. "Because it's such a big upgrade, it takes longer."

For more:
- see this RIM devices release
- see this RIM BlackBerry Balance release
- see this Financial Post article
- see this T-Mobile Tweet
- see this MobileCrunch post

Related Articles:
RIM slashes forecast on weaker BlackBerry smartphone sales
RIM chiefs counter PlayBook tablet criticism ahead of launch
RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook to run Android apps
RIM partners with Verizon, AT&T; puts PlayBook on sale for $499
RIM CMO Pardy departs as BlackBerry PlayBook launch looms
RIM's transition to QNX hinges on software development, not hardware

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