With a brand new bring with BlackBerryhardware and an ameliorated and enhanced operating system inBlackBerry 7, RIM has not been sitting however. I have been applyinga BlackBerry 9900 for over a week, and like a reformed BlackBerryaddict, I have few thoughts on this latest flagship smartphone out ofWaterloo. RIM is no stranger to the hardware game, having been majorsmartphone vendor to actually control the whole end-to-end hardwareand software experience. Each BlackBerry launch appears to display aconstant trait that RIM proceeds to improve its manufacturingcapabilities and the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is no exception.


In fact, this is the finest hardwareever to come out of Waterloo. From the beautiful black fascia to thestainless steel bezel surrounding the top notch components, to thesoft-touch ended, carbon-fiber-laced back cover, this is a BlackBerrythat exudates quality, and one that any executive would be proud tohave grace his or her desk. The high quality materials RIM isapplying with the BlackBerry 9900 are apparent, I merely wish thecompany would have created the switch sooner.


It is the first time metal has createdan appearance rather than of plastic, and it is the first time I canremember a BlackBerry not feeling hollow, but feeling as a solidhigh-end product. Beginning on the front of the device, you willwatch a pure white color accent scheme for the first time ever alsothe send and end phone buttons are colorless, and it actually works.Although RIM is not a company that is experienced for focusing ondesign identity, or as obsessing over little details, the companycreates the personality of the Bold 9900 come alive, and it meshesbeautifully. Even the symbols on the keyboard are not a differentcolor, but this new straight-forward color palette actually works forme.

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On the top of the phone you will detecta display lock/unlock button. On the right slope there is a volume upbutton up top, a mute key in the middle and a volume down button —all made out of metal, I might add. Underneath that you will detectthe camera shutter key. On the bottom of the phone you will watch twocharging contacts for compatibility with RIM’s charging docks,which not only creates a great alarm clock stand, but also reducewear and tear on the micro USB port. It would have been great towatch RIM take this one step further and apply a similar technologyfor USB syncing as well, while it is not that big of a deal. On theleft of the Bold 9900 you’ll find a micro USB port, and 3.5mmheadset jack.


It would be comically funny if it werenot a actual sign of how RIM actually thinks who needs an auto focuscamera when we can make the phone thinner. Few thing I would like topoint out is that the thinness of the Bold 9900 is very competitive.At about 10 mm thin, it is impressive. For a device on a capacitivetouch screen, full size QWERTY keyboard the best in the business andtechnical characteristics that take the once stone-aged company intoa near-competitive area, the Bold 9900 is an engineering feat, andone RIM should perfectly be proud of. The information that thecompany did not contain an auto focus camera in the Bold 9900.

The screen on the BlackBerry 9900is excellent. It is the first higher resolution device out of RIM,characterizing a 640 x 480-pixel panel. While that is not up there onRetina and qHD displays, the 2.8-inch touch screen on the Bold 9900looks absolutely beautiful. It is bright, it is vivid, it is crispthis is an amazing screen. Touch sensitivity and performance on the9900 is as well excellent, on touches being recognized instantly,swipes performing correctly, and flick and pinch gestures workingexactly in the web browser. It is too good that it nearly makes youforget that RIM is responsible for releasing the BlackBerry Storm.


RIM also went step ahead on equippingeverything of its high-end devices on NFC capabilities, and as whilethe NFC functionality is not being applied in the Bold 9900 atrelease, the engineering that went into the effort has not goneunnoticed. The NFC chip is constructed into the battery cover oncontacts that connect only when the cover it attached to the phone,and it is only an clever integration; it creates you wonder why othermanufacturers have not brought this approach. Let us only acquirethis out of the way the keyboard on the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is thebest physical keyboard on any smartphone, always.


I went there. It is not only broad, itis tactile and it characteristics the perfected RIM layout. It isclicking, but not mushy, and it is firm but not too firm. It is aswell exactly sized without being so big to type rapidly in short, itis the best physical keyboard I have ever typed on as far as a mobiledevice goes. From currency symbols to exclamation points, thekeyboard and keyboard layout on the BlackBerry 9900 is the best inthe business. As well the back-lighting on the keyboard is nothingshort of glowing.


BlackBerry users will experience rightat home, and it is a brisk modification from the many awfulsoft-keyboards out there. On that said, soft keyboards have anadvantage in a couple of places, but if you are a texter, a hardcoreemailer or one of those old school individuals who only can notcreate the switch to a touch-only smartphone, this is the best youare going to acquire; and it is actually not as well open to argue.BlackBerry’s new operating system, BlackBerry 7, is not a forcefulmodification from the last operating systems out of RIM. In fact, atthe very basic level, it is the same. Certainly there are fewdifferent APIs and enhancements but at the end of the day this is, atthe core, the same BlackBerry that you have been used to applying.


That is not to say RIM has not createdadvances in different areas of the operating system. In fact, sourcesclose to me have touted the fact that RIM has been able to stripbloated code from the OS in various places, undoing years ofbandaging and complexity — and it does show. Coupled on areasonably fast 1.2GHz single-core processor, the software on theBlackBerry runs very fast. There are not many slow-downs, and thedreaded BlackBerry spinning clock has not made very many appearanceson my 9900s.