RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900 (preview)

BlackBerry Bold 9900: RIM's latest BlackBerry Bold gets a capacitive touchscreen, a 1.2GHz processor and the latest BlackBerry 7 OS

RIM has launched the thinnest BlackBerry ever and equipped it with a long-awaited capacitive touchscreen and powerful processor. Similar to Apple's iPhone 4, the new BlackBerry Bold 9900 is constructed from a combination of glass and stainless steel but comes with BlackBerry's well-renowned physical keyboard.

Read our guide to the top BlackBerry smartphones on the market, and see the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 combines a 2.8in capacitive touchscreen with a full QWERTY keyboard. It uses a combination of glass on the front and a stainless steel band, and measures just 10.5mm thick, making it the thinnest BlackBerry ever made. RIM describes the design as "a lustrous exterior with a brushed stainless steel frame and a high-gloss glass-weave back plate."

Under the hood, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is powered by a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, 768MB RAM and 8GB of internal memory, along with a microSD card slot for extra storage. The Bold 9900 will also be the first BlackBerry to ship with the latest BlackBerry 7 operating system. Amongst the new features are and improved, faster Web browser, voice-activated searches, the ability to manage personal content separately from corporate content with BlackBerry Balance, as well as a number of additional personal and productivity applications.

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 also includes an integrated Near Field Communications (NFC) chip. NFC is a short-range wireless communication technology; the same used in many new credit cards, whereby the card can be simply swiped across a smart chip to make a purchase.

Other features of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 include a 5-megapixel camera that doubles as a 720p HD video recorder, and a full version of the Docs To Go app allowing users to read and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. There is no front-facing camera for video calling.

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 will be available through Optus retail stores, online and other sales channels from early September. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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Ross Catanzariti

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