RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 unveiled

BlackBerry Bold 9700

Research in Motion (RIM) has unveiled a new flagship phone in the Bold range, the Bold 9700.

It's essentially a slimmed-down version of the BlackBerry Bold 9000, although it retains that phone's coloured, large-keyed QWERTY - albeit in ever-so slightly reduced form.

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 is packed with all the connectivity options that you'd usually associate with the always-connected devices, including Wi-Fi and HSDPA.

Carlo Chiarello, RIM's vice president of product management, sees the Bold 9700 as a product of the company's strategy to make phones that are aimed towards a "broader market" rather than those "directed down a path that's only enterprise or only consumer."

He said that more than 80 per cent of its 3.8 million new subscribers achieved in the second quarter of the year were non-business users, and that more than 50 per cent of their overall user base worldwide is non-business.

This suggests that BlackBerry's trajectory may well end up leaning towards that of other manufacturers in the future - a reduced form factor and more touchscreen elements. However, the only touch-sensitive element of the Bold 9700 is its tiny central track pad, used as the primary menu navigation method.

The Bold 9700 also features GPS, a powerful 624Mhz processor and a claimed 17 days of battery life when on standby with 3G engaged. The camera remains at the fairly lowly 3.2 mega pixel count, but Chiarello said that the optical quality and auto focus speed improve upon the Bold 9000.

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 will sell alongside the Bold 9000, rather than replacing it, offering a QWERTY device that's a little more pocket-friendly than its big brother.

Click here for our review of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 and here for our first look review of the BlackBerry Bold 9700.