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Tablets- just not there yet

By on May 18, 2011

Great as a complimentary device- not as a primary device.

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Fifteen years back, the laptop became my indispensable tool for business. It used to travel with me to meetings in town and conferences out of town. Over the years, I switched between desktop replacements to ultra-portables and from Microsoft Windows to Mac OS X. Then came the mobile phone which eventually turned into a Smartphone and over-shadowed the laptop as the single device that would stay with me most of the time.

I’ve been playing with a lot of tablets lately- they certainly seem to be the rage, trying to position themselves somewhere between the Smartphones and the laptops but not necessarily built to replace either one. If was to carry just one device- it would, without doubt, be the Smartphone. It allows me to make or receive calls, create or reply my emails and messages- and do a bit of social networking. And when I’m done using it, it comfortably slips into my pocket.

If I had to pick a second device to carry with me, eight times out of ten, it would be the laptop and not the tablet- especially when you have ultra portables like the MacBook Air and Samsung Series 9. These devices are thin enough to carry without burdening your shoulders and fast enough to start almost immediately from standby with their SSDs along with being powerful enough to encode videos for your website.

The two times that I would pick the tablet is when I know the task I am going for is extremely specific that the Tablet is capable of- such as showing a PDF or presentation to a client in a cafe or live tweeting from an event. Although a laptop can easily handle the presentation and my smartphone can tweet, the tablet is more convenient for both such tasks because of its size and interface.

Tablets will get better for content creators. And possibly replace the laptop- especially with devices like the ASUS Transformer. They’re not just there yet.


What goes on at Google I/O

By on May 15, 2011

Announcements Google made at this year’s I/O conference.

Google concluded their I/O conference last week and the attendees sure got one awesome event. Not only did they get to hear about the latest mobile and desktop developments at Google in person but they also walked out with the latest goodies- a revised and special edition Galaxy Tab 10.1 with a vanilla back and a Chromebook. The Galaxy tab 10.1 is already selling on ebay for about US$1000 which is double the ticket price to attend the event so you already got double your money worth.

But lets let the financial aspects out of it and talk about some of the announcements Google made. First up is the announcement of the immediate availability of Android 3.1 (for Xoom users, at least) as well as a brand spanking new version 4.0 which will happen some time in the last quarter of this year. Honeycomb 3.1 should hopefully solve a few of the complains that I have with the current version such as the generally lag in usin the unit- expect my Xoom review later this week.

Version 4 of Android will finally merge the mobile and tablet versions- much like Apple did with IOS 4.1 and bring harmony to developers. Not much info was shared on this version of Android other than it will be called Ice Cream Cake- following the traditions of names based on desserts for Google mobile Operating systems.

Seperately, Google showed developement on ChromeOS which is more or less a thin client with everything running from a browser. I’m not really sure why we have two different Operating systems being developed simultaneously- they can easily merge Android and ChromeOS, especially since Android 4.0 is being touted as one OS that can run across multiple platforms- from set top boxes to cars to mobile phones and tablets.

I wont be surprised if the two are merged together at next year’s IO.


Benihana loses, Blogger wins – is this the precedent?

By on May 4, 2011

While the win is great news for bloggers, it does not mean they can get away with anything.

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For blogger Mark or @mark248am (that’s his Twitter handle), yesterday was the day things finally went right and justice was dished out.  Mark, was being sued by Benihana in Kuwait for a post he’d put on his blog that they didn’t quite like (Mark talks about it in more detail here) was told yesterday he’d won his case for stating his opinion.

While this is no doubt great news for bloggers across the region, who’ve certainly come in the spotlight of late with the sea of revolutions we’ve seen across the Middle East and North Africa, this was a little more interesting because this wasn’t a case of blogger vs. government but rather of blogger vs. private enterprise.

The grounds on which the lawsuit commenced itself was bizarre and left many to wonder why would a franchisee of a major brand like Benihana be willing to jeapordize his reputation like that.  After all, bad or negative feedback spreads like wildfire but good feedback doesn’t often get spoken about enough.  I’m pretty sure that what happened in Benihana in Kuwait probably had a knock-on effect of sorts on Benihana in the UAE, even though the franchisee is different. I know at least when I hear the name Benihana, I cringe.  I liked their food and the experience always here in Dubai but somewhere in the back of my mind, I wonder if I want to dine there anymore.

Why didn’t Benihana manage the damage much earlier?  Why did it reach to the point where they were making racist remarks by asking Mark if he was Lebanese (as if that makes any difference)?  Why weren’t they just willing to sit down with Mark and ask him why he didn’t like his experience there so they could see if they could constructively incorporate his comments into his experience there? These are answers we probably won’t ever get.  What Benihana probably underestimated was that even though the blogging community is small, they are vocal.  Their opinions do get heard and with so many journalists and PR-folk on social media across the region, these stories can be picked up very quickly by the mainstream press.

What I am more interested about though is that if this sets a precedent?  The legal system in the region can be erratic but a victory like this could be a reference point for others.  However, what this does not mean you can defame or be libelous.  There is still a fine line as a blogger you have to take.  Opinion is fine, making up facts, figures and being racist isn’t.

So while I’m thrilled to see Mark win, I’m just worried this sends the wrong message to other bloggers in this part of the world who think they can say anything and get away with it. There is still a code of ethics we have to live with as bloggers and while it’s good to have multiple mouthpieces open during this era of citizen journalism, let’s make sure to respect the boundaries.  If you want to be treated with respect, you also need to respect those around you, whether it be on social media or in real life.

As someone who’s in the field of providing customer service myself, I know it’s impossible to provide 100% customer satisfaction as much as we want but the basic principles of listening, understanding and acknowledging have never changed, whether it happens in person, over e-mail, phone calls or on social media.  I’m sure Benihana have learned a lesson but I sincerely hope other businesses in the region also do as well .


The day before BlackBerry World 2011 kicks in.

By on May 3, 2011

BlackBerry users felt the excitement.

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Although BlackBerry World officially kicks off tomorrow with a keynote from co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, there were quite a few RIM related announcements today during their media session.

Starting off, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 was unveiled which is going to be the flagship device for RIM for the next few months. It has a for factor reminiscent of the older Bold 9000 series but with a touch screen, a super speedy 1.2GHz CPU and a brand new OS7 which utilizes the capabilities of the GPU to create a smooth and fluid experience- something all Touch based BlackBerry Smartphones are lacking.

Sadly, the Bold 9900 is the only new device announced today when three were somewhat expected. The BlackBerry Touch and the follow up to BlackBerry Torch were not announced. Where there was a good buzz was on the software and applications side of things.

Starting off, Social Feeds 2.0 was revealed which will only be available to OS7 users while Twitter 2.0 beta will also go on testing but not restricted to the OS7-only club. Gist, a company that RIM invested in recently rolled out their App for Torch owners as well.

On the PlayBook side of things, Video Chat was announced and should be available later today through a software update. This will allow PlayBook owners to audio and video chat with each other using the device’s built-in cameras. Facebook for PlayBook was also announced and this will be the first official app for Facebook on a tablet endorsed by RIM. Lastly, Scrapbook was released on the App Store- an application developed by TAT- another company that RIM recently acquired. TAT focuses on UI and design and is expected to bring in their skills to polish the UI and applications on RIM’s platforms.

All in all, a good day for BlackBerry owners as far as news is concerned, although except for the announcement of the Bold 9900, not much in terms of excitement for the outsiders. Lets see if Mike Lazaridis can create some magic tomorrow to bring RIMM back up.


My weekend with Android

By on May 1, 2011

First experience with Android.

About two weekends ago, I had the opportunity to play with a new toy.  It was an Android smartphone, and since I use an Apple iPhone (3GS) and a BlackBerry Bold 9780 as my primary devices, I was excited at the prospect of using an Android device, particularly since this was running on the latest version of Android, version 2.3, which is also popularly known as Gingerbread.  Since I haven’t upgraded my iPhone to the iPhone 4, I was contemplating moving to an Android device and to see if I should wait it out till the iPhone 5 comes out.

Before I talk about my experience, I want to say, I’m not going to mention the brand or the model I used.  I don’t want this to come out like a paid promo for a device or a brand, and given my professional background, it could very easily be interpreted that way.

Speed

First off, I found the said device to be quick, snappy and it had a brilliant display.  Considering the fact that I’m still using the iPhone 3GS, I found this to be refreshing as the 3GS is starting to feel sluggish these days and in comparison, the screen on the 3GS is just plain old dull.  I know if I upgraded to the iPhone 4, most of this wouldn’t be an issue but since I have the 3GS, any new device these days would fare better in terms of processor speed and display technology.  The BlackBerry Bold is a much smaller screen and isn’t a touch-screen device so you can’t really make a comparison here.  However as compared to the BlackBerry OS 6.0, I found the skinned version of Gingerbread that this manufacturer uses to be much faster than OS 6.0.

Home Screen, Menus & Widgets

Another refreshing change on the device was the widgets on the home screen.  This is something I remember seeing in the earlier versions of BlackBerry devices but disappeared somewhere along the process.  On the iPhone, this sadly lacks and there is little customization possible on the home screen.

Social media integration is also something that virtually every Android skin seems to be working on.  On the iPhone the notification system is still weak.  On the BlackBerry it’s improved and with OS 6.0, RIM has tried to include their Social Feeds App but you’re still better of using UberSocial and the Facebook App.  On this device though, it seemed seamlessly integrated.  Considering more of how we communicate these days is via social networking, this was a real plus point for this device.

The camera on this device was decent.  Whether it was video or still photographs, I found this to do the job just fine.  How good a camera is, though, depends so much on individual models and manufacturers that you can’t really credit Android for this.

As far as the menu’s go, I found it more difficult to navigate through the Android device as compared to my BlackBerry and iPhone.  The main reason was the lack of folders.  I didn’t like the fact that I had to scroll through five screens to find an App whereas on my iPhone I know I can limit everything to three screens if I need to, and have them sorted the way I like them.  On the BlackBerry it isn’t as much of an issue either just because you don’t tend to end up with as many Apps as you would on an iOS or Android device.

App Away!

What I did like on the Android device was the number of Apps that were available.  While there aren’t as many Apps available as you would have in the iTunes App store for Apple devices (and don’t bother trying to compare with BlackBerry’s AppWorld), you tended to find most of the important Apps that you’d use on a regular basis (i.e. games like Angry Birds, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter or Twicca on Android, Skype, Tango, sports & news Apps etc.).

However, what I did find frustrating was navigating through Google Market.  I somehow still find the iTunes App store much easier to use and the overall user experience is still stronger on this.  I did however try using Google Market on my laptop and it was great to see Apps loaded over the air directly onto my device.  No cables, no connecting to my laptop, no worries.

What I did find cumbersome was trying to move or delete Apps.  It doesn’t seem as straightforward as the iPhone where you get to the wobble screen and just press on the little “X” button that appears on top of each App, or on the BlackBerry where you press the menu button and just select Delete.  On this device, there was a lot more work to be done and you just wish it was a one or two step process.  Maybe it could’ve been done easier and I totally missed this but I didn’t see it.

This also brings me to another issue that bugged me: the lack of help. With so many Android devices and so many versions running on different skins, finding help online was more difficult.  What works on one device with one skin, may not work on another one.  Comparatively finding support online for Apple’s iOS is relatively simple as there are really only two devices that are being used and very fewer versions of iOS than Android.

Having said that, one novel App I liked which came standard on this particular device is a flashlight or torch function.  It seems simple enough and I did indeed end up using it once because I needed some light, and switching on the flash did certainly help.  I know you can get this on other devices and operating systems now as well, but I liked the fact that this came standard.

Gmail, Surfing and Migrating Contacts

Being an OS owned by Google, Gmail integration is surely one of their strengths here.  The Gmail App on the BlackBerry is a pain to use and I haven’t even bothered trying to connect my Gmail account on my iPhone, but this was a joy to use.

The browser on this device was also fabulous.  The BlackBerry browser is rather more difficult to use and because of the smaller screen size, you don’t quite get the same web experience.  The iPhone is nice but I found this device just better overall.  What I did find on this particular device though was that it had a relatively poor WiFi range.  I’ve thus far found the BlackBerry to be the best, followed by my iPhone, but this device just didn’t cut it.

Moving contacts was probably one of the easiest operations I’ve seen on a smartphone.  I’ve moved contacts from one BlackBerry to another or from the BlackBerry to the iPhone, but it always required that I had to connect to my laptop to do it.  Here it was done wirelessly using Bluetooth and I’ve never seen all my contacts migrate from one device to another that quickly.  Everything moved perfectly and I just wished all manufacturers and OS platforms were this easy.

Connectivity to a PC / Mac

If there was one major gripe I had with this device it was connectivity to a PC or Mac.  The synchronization process when it connected to my PC wasn’t as smooth and was terribly slow.  Once you’ve connected your BlackBerry to the Desktop Manager or had your iPhone connect to iTunes, you find things just happen.  This sadly wasn’t the case here.

Trying to connect this device to my iTunes library to copy some music on to it also was a multi-step process which I don’t think I would be prepared for everything I wanted to sync or update my playlist.  Moving a podcast was even more complicated and I eventually gave up trying to do this.  When I did copy music onto the device though, the output was great and I had no complaints on this.

Even worse was though was trying to connect this Android device to my Mac.  It just wasn’t going to happen and I found the support for MacBook’s to be extremely poor.  The BlackBerry connectivity on a Mac isn’t great either, but it’s much better than this.

What did I choose to do finally?

When Sunday morning came around and it was time for me to head off to work, I had a choice to make. Which phone did I want to use, the iPhone or the Android device?  As much as I liked the whole Android experience, I just missed iOS too much.  Out came the SIM card and straight into the SIM tray of the iPhone it went.

Had I not used an iPhone, I would’ve probably stuck to this device but with Gingerbread looking as good as it is, I do certainly hope the future versions of Android operating systems move forwards from here and close the gap on iOS.  Fragmentation within the Android environment is a major issue at the moment and with the experience being so different from device to device due to manufacturer skins and so many different versions of Android OS floating around, it is going to be a challenge that Google hopefully addresses.

Where is the Android device in the meantime?  Don’t worry, it found a good home and is currently being used by my wife, and since it’s the first touch screen device she’s used, she may end up keeping it longer than the one weekend I had this device for.


Apple, you gotta release the iPhone 5 in July, man

By on April 24, 2011

Pretty please?

iPhone 5 is imminent. That much is undeniable. There are tons of rumors flying about that suggest Apple will be dropping an all-new iPhone device than a merely beefed up iPhone 4GS.

And the rumors are truly exciting: a 4-inch+ screen, an edge-to-edge display, 8MP camera, carbon fiber casing, the A5 chip that powers the iPad 2, the faster GPU, no buttons/touch buttons, gesture based controls, and then the brand new iOS 5.

That’s all fine and dandy, but out of all the rumors, the most worrisome is the purported launch window. A majority of the so called “sources close to the matter” have repeatedly confirmed that the next iPhone will be put into production in August and will be made available only in September or early October. And that’s the problem.

Not one of the rumored designs,thankfully.

If the iPhone 5 releases in September in the USA, it most likely will be available only in December in the UAE, or next year (oh the horror!). And that puts me in a personal dilemma. I had bought my iPhone 4 from Etisalat in October last year, and as per the plan, my contract is due for renewal in the coming October.

If iPhone 5 turns out to be as impressive as the rumors suggest, and if Steve Jobs’ sales pitch convinces me that the iPhone 5 is the second coming for smartphones, I will have to be 3G-less for at least 3-4 months before I can renew my Etisalat iPhone package! Because if I continue with my iPhone 4 plan beyond October, I will be charged a good fat AED 100 for cancellation, and considering the iPhone 5 will cost me my entire paycheck, every hit will be hard.

You know how empty you feel when you accidentally forget your phone at home? As if a part of you is left behind, making you feel uneasy, unsure and insecure? That’s how I feel when I don’t have 3G on my mobile. I don’t know what to with the phone then. I don’t know what to do anymore.

And I am sure I am not alone in this. Considering the iPhone 4 was sold out even before Etisalat could put up advertisements for it, there are lots and lots of people that now share my dilemma.

And so, I sincerely request Apple to release the iPhone 5 in July. Only then do we stand a chance to get the phone before our contract runs out. Our AED 100 rest in your hands, Steve.


Why the PlayBook launch didn’t turn out as RIM would have liked.

By on April 20, 2011

The tablet has plenty of potential. Along with plenty of issues.

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The BlackBerry PlayBook finally launched in the US yesterday and I’ve been browsing through forums reading opinions of people that bought it. While people generally have positive things to say, there are quite a few discussions that reminded my why Apple is so successful with their product launches and others aren’t.

Like the Motorola Xoom, it seems as though many things on the BlackBerry PlayBook are going to be “coming soon.” To give you a quick recap- the Xoom promised Flash support (which it eventually delivered) and a 4G upgrade (which it hopefully will) when it was released. RIM is also promising a native email client and BBM functionality in the upcoming days. For customers in the US, AT&T threw a bomb on launch day by not allowing access to the Bridge application on your BlackBerry device.

For those that don’t know, the “Bridge” connects your PlayBook to your BlackBerry mobile phone and allows you to view all the contacts, emails and appointments in your BlackBerry on the PlayBook. It also allows you to browse the Internet using your BlackBerry’s data connection. Without the Bridge, you wont be able to access PIM functionality (Contacts, Calender, Tasks etc.) on your PlayBook making it, more or less, a $500 web browser than needs Wi-Fi access to function- not exactly a picture of a cutting edge device.

Considering that the PlayBook was announced way back in September of last year, I am quite surprised and a little disappointed that even with with six months between announcing and launching a product, RIM has still managed to miss things that should have worked out of the box. Not only did RIM lose out on the software but six months back, they had announced the first dual-core tablet and by the time it was released, the Xoom and iPad 2 were already available with dual core CPUs completely stealing the PlayBook’s thunder.

Now lets take a look at the Apple iPad. The original iPad was announced and released within two months of the the announcement. The iPad 2 launched within a week of its announcement. Whatever Apple promised on these devices was present on them at launch day- there were no real surprises. Yes, I agree that the iPad doesn’t play Flash or has an SD card slot but Apple never promised anything of that sort. They gave the consumers exactly what they said they will and not made them wait too long for it either. And to top it all, Apple is brilliant with their marketing and their retail stores that create enough hype to guarantee long lines on launch days.

I know that launching a new product is never easy but there seems to be way too many hiccups with the PlayBook and that results in a negative initial experience instead of a neutral or positive one. This puts a lot more pressure on RIM to rectify these issues and do it really fast if they want the PlayBook to succeed. I really hope that RIM works on the PlayBook and it doesn’t turn out to be another BlackBerry Storm for them- a rushed, half-baked product that was brought to market simply because RIM wanted to say “me too.”


R.I.P. Flip. You will be sorely missed.

By on April 17, 2011

It’ll be hard to find a trusty companion.

Every once in a while, a company does a bone-headed move that makes me furious and CISCO did just that last week when they announced that they will be shutting down Flip Video. Let me tell you, why this makes me angry. I’ve been using notebooks for almost twenty years, digital cameras for about fifteen and Smartphones for around ten years and I can’t remember sticking to any one particular model for more than a couple of years. The only gadget that I haven’t replaced since I bought it over two years back is my trusty Flip MinoHD camera.

My MinoHD has seen the world with me and has never let me down. Some are speculating that the ever increasing capabilities of Smartphone cameras is the reason for the closure of Flip. I disagree on three levels. First, MinoHD is always instantly available by pressing the power button and hitting record whereas on almost all Smartphones I’ve used, I have to find and launch the camera app which takes quite a few seconds.

Secondly, the MinoHD is almost always fully charged whereas cameras on the Smartphones consume a lot of battery and the last thing I need is a smartphone dying on me because I took a fifteen minute video. They can also get pretty hot to use when recording larger videos which, I agree the Mino does too, but I don’t have to hold the Mino next to my ear. With the MinoHD, it charges every time I plug in it to transfer videos which brings me to my last point.

It is so much easier to transfer videos from the MinoHD with it’s built-in USB plug. With my Smartphone, I have to make sure that I have the USB cable with me. If not, then I have power it off, remove the MicroSD card and find the adapter to make sure it goes in my laptop. On the MinoHD, its just a matter of sliding the switch on the side.

Lets not forget other things that MinoHD is also capable of- such as image stabilization which has made many of my shaky videos appear smooth and a form factor that is so simple yet functional that it looks as if it has come out from Cuperteno. There have also been many times where our team of four has shared the flip on different events- I can’t just pass my Smartphone to someone else.

R.I.P. Flip. You will sorely be missed.


Bring on the Superbus

By on April 13, 2011

Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 30 minutes. Hell, yes!

It’s been a pretty gloomy couple of months in terms of Middle Eastern news but one things that stood out as a silver lining is news of the Superbus being tested for feasibility as a sustainable means of transport.

Superbus

For those of you who haven’t heard about the Superbus yet, it’s a cross between a limousine and bus. It can carry 23 people and travels at 250 km/h. Which means you can get between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in about thirty minutes.

Considering I live in Dubai and work in Abu Dhabi, I have to travel back and forth every day and I couldn’t be happier about the process of driving to and fro being cut down to a mere 30 minutes. Sure, it will take a few more minutes to get to the (Super) bus stop but it will still be worth it. Plus, if it’s traveling at such high speeds, such a mode of transport would requite it’s own lane of course and that will just mean you don’t have to put up with the speeding maniacs who frequent the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway.

As an added bonus, the Superbus looks pretty cool. If someone took the Batmobile added gull wing doors to it and stretched it out to the size of a massive limo, it would pretty much look like the Superbus. Add to that, the comfort of the vehicle is comparable to that of a luxury sedan. The vehicle is electric and previous tests indicate that it has a range of 130 miles, which should be plenty for a one-way trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

What remains to be seen is if it can be made affordable enough for the general businessmen and if it is safe to use. Even if it isn’t, wouldn’t it be a helluva way to die?


BlackBerry coming back in the game with three new devices

By on April 10, 2011

The new Bold, Touch and Torch with OS6.1 on the horizon

While RIM has been facing a tough time against the iPhone and Android devices internationally, the BlackBerry is still incredibly popular here in the UAE. With BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) and a truly universal inbox that shows you everything from your emails and IMs to Facebook and twitter messages, BlackBerry devices still excel in messaging. Where RIM is lacking is on the hardware front- they’re still stuck with specs that are a couple of generations behind. In fact, your new medium end Android phones have better specs than the top of the range BlackBerry phones.

That should hopefully change in the next few weeks when RIM announces three new devices- the Touch, the Torch 2 and the Bold Touch, as the leaks on the Internet suggest. With three different form factors, these devices have RIM covered as far as form-factor is concerned. And the excitement that is buzzing at RIM with OS 6.1 is also a good sign which is what these three devices will come equipped with. Lets take a quick look on what is known about these devices

1) BlackBerry Touch- 9860

The BlackBerry Touch is somewhat of a replacement to the BlackBerry Storm which really didn’t strike the right note for RIM with its click-screen SurePress technology, slow operation and a fair share of bugs at launch. So BlackBerry is doing away with the clicky screen and beefing the specs enough to make the device zip through operations. They’re also giving the device a new name to probably distance themselves from the bad memories many had with the BlackBerry Storm. The BlackBerry Touch is purely targeted towards the iPhone and Android based Samrtphones owners that prefer a full slate design instead of a keyboard.

Specs-wise, the BlackBerry Touch will feature a super-speedy 1.2GHz CPU making it one the fastest Smartphones in the market. It will come with 768MB RAM and 4GB built-in storage. The 3.7” screen will have a 800×480 resolution making it the highest resolution found in a BlackBerry Smartphone. Expect a 5MP camera that also does 720p video recording and all the usual radios such as 3G, Bluetooth and WiFi.

2) BlackBerry Torch 2- 9810

Probably the least exciting upgrade from the three devices mentioned here is the successor to the incredibly successful BlackBerry Torch. The reason I say least exciting is that there isn’t anything new as far as form-factor is concerned. From the leaks of the specs sheet, the Torch 2 has identical dimensions and weight of the original Torch which is starting to feel a bit on the big and heay side.

However, the insides of the Torch have been completely swapped out. You’ll see the the same 1.2GHz super-speed processor that is found on the BlackBerry Touch along with 768MB RAM and 8GB storage. Although the 3.7” screen size on the BlackBerry Torch 2 is identical to the one on the BlackBerry Touch, sadly it has a slightly lesser resolution of 480×640 compared to the of the Touch’s 800×480 resolution. Still, it is better than the original Torch which is 360×480 pixels. Expect the same 5MP camera with 720p video recording.

3) BlackBerry Bold Touch- 9900

I saved the best for last. This is the new Bold that goes back to the design of the first BlackBerry Bold- the 9000, which, in my opinion, is the best device that RIM has come up with as far as form factor is concerned. It had the right amount of bling and geek that truly created an exceptional phone- I have yet to use a Smartphone with a better keyboard.

The new Bold 9900 will have a slightly larger screen (2.8” vs 2.6”) and will support touch making it the first BlackBerry with a touchscreen in a candybar form factor. The screen resolution will be 640×480 which is a bit lower the iPhone 4 or new Android devices, however, considering that its a 2.8” screen, you’re looking at a pretty high dpi of 287 which will make everything appear quite smooth and crisp. Luckily, the slightly larger sized screen will not add much to the dimensions of the phone which are supposedly 115 x 66 x 10.5mm. Compared to the original Bold 9000’s specs of 114 x 66 x 14mm, the Bold Touch should be just a tad bit wider but almost a third thinner.

RIM plans on using the same 1.2GHz CPU as the above two devices on the Bold Touch along with 768MB RAM, 8GB built-in storage and a 5MP camera. I must say that the Bold Touch sounds pretty awesome- I just hope RIM doesn’t screw up the battery life like they did with the original Bold.

So there you have it- three new devices that will supposedly be announced at BlackBerry World in the next few weeks.


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