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The BlackBerry Bold (ex-9000) Finally Arrives

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 11, 2008

More than one pundit has already called the BlackBerry Bold (known during development as the BlackBerry 9000) an “iPhone killer.” But that’s not the mission of the new super-BlackBerry announced today by Research In Motion (product details -requires Flash.) Even as Apple’s iPhone has taken the U.S., if not the rest of the world, by storm over the past 10 months, RIM, which pitches its products primarily to business markets, has enjoyed a fabulously successful year.


RIM has no illusions about stopping or even slowing down the iPhone, and doesn’t need to. The Waterloo, Ont., company just plans to continue prospering by snagging a healthy share of the rapidly growing smartphone market, matching the second-generation 3G iPhone expected in June with Bold.
Though it has an unmistakable resemblance to its BlackBerry siblings, the Bold is an entirely new design, bigger than the Pearl but a bit smaller than the Curve. It will be available, RIM says, in “summer.” And while RIM has not announced a wireless carrier, the fact that it is a quad-band 3G phone means that the U.S. launch partner will certainly be AT&T. It’s likely to be priced between $300 and $400, steep but likely to be accepted by its primarily corporate audience.
The most striking feature of the Bold is its display. It runs at the same 320x480 resolution as the iPhone, but since the display is smaller, the screen seems even sharper. The user interface design takes advantage of this, replacing RIM’s traditional cartoonish icons with spare white images against a jet black background. Between the screen, an improved media player, and built-in stereo speakers (or a jack that accepts any standard 3.5 mm stereo headphone plug), it’s the first BlackBerry that I’d really want to use to watch video. There’s also a 2 megapixel camera. As has always been the case with BlackBerrys used with corporate servers, any of these features can be disabled by policy.

I didn’t get to use the Bold for long during a demo session, but the full QWERTY keyboard felt very good—better than the Curve’s and at least as good at the 8800 series’. Like most recent BlackBerrys, the Bold features Wi-Fi, though unlike the new T-Mobile Pearl, this can be used only for data, not voice calls. It also has a built in GPS receiver, though it has to make do without a location assist from the network.

For the first year of its existence, the iPhone has been frozen out of most corporate markets by its lack of support for the two leading enterprise mail systems, Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes. Apple has licensed Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology and IBM is expected to release a Notes client for the with the first batch opf third-party iPhone applications due in June. We don’t know yet what the full features of these mail programs will be, but it’s a safe bet they won’t match the level of corporate manageability and security provided by BlackBerry. And that is exactly what RIM is counting on to keep BlackBerry on top of the enterprise game.

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Reader Comments


May 11, 2008 11:33 PM

Why's it a "safe bet"?

David Chartier

May 12, 2008 01:22 AM

Be careful when comparing screens to the iPhone. While the BB 9000 and other phones may run at the same 320 x 480 resolution, remember that the iPhone has a significantly higher 163 DPI than most other phones use.


May 12, 2008 01:25 AM

Blackberry is determined not to fall behind. They beat iPhone to the 3G punch and now they're copying the iFund with their own developer fund.

Another Blackberry Bold article:

Pete Mortensen

May 12, 2008 01:42 AM

Um...Steven, the details of Apple's Exchange support have been public for quite some time. Apple is offering the same level of corporate manageability and security as RIM, but without the proprietary BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Remote wipe is supported, extensive VPN features, remote device configuration, certificates and identities, the works. The iPhone Enterprise features are extremely nice. If you spend all of your time writing e-mail on your phone, a BlackBerry's a better bet. But the iPhone will be a very happy corporate citizen. It would be good to get that message out there...

The details are here:

No word on Lotus yet, but I expect similar quality.


May 12, 2008 05:28 AM

this is me..

Stephen Brewer

May 12, 2008 06:00 AM

Has the BB BOLD got Visual Voice Mail - does it display received which allows choice of which you answer ?


May 12, 2008 07:08 AM

No point comparing hardware features against each other then saying one phone is better than the other. That's not how CIOs buy phones for enterprises.

Many CIOs are uncomfortable with the fact that iPhone has been successfully hacked by millions of users and even with security protocols built into the next model, it will take a couple of months for enterprises to evaluate them side-by-side.

I think the two phones will co-exist well in the enterprise because they have fundamentally different uses. People with CRMs and other interface dependent professional needs will get iPhones and people with email communication needs will get BlackBerry.

Apple has been incredibly smart about not creating a new BES infrastructure with a remote NOC somewhere. It means that the two solutions can co-exist with simple configuration of internal Exchange servers which already exist anyway.

There's no question however that iPhone will become the number 1 smartphone of choice in the consumer market, particularly with college student populations. RIM will cede this market completely to Apple within a year particularly because the rich offerings in iTunes U are becoming more compelling each month. The space is big enough for both because they do different jobs for customers.


May 12, 2008 07:57 AM

"Many CIOs are uncomfortable with the fact that iPhone has been successfully hacked by millions of users..."

Actually when the press talks about hacked iPhones, what they really mean is that users have successfully unlocked them from AT&T. To my knowledge, nobody has been able to hack into an iPhone to read user e-mails, text messages, notes, calendar or browsing history. If a corporate user loses an iPhone to theft or by accident and the phone can be secured with a lock code, it will be useless as a source of information, just like like the BlackBerry.

That said, I agree with the rest of your comment.

Steve Wildstrom

May 12, 2008 09:11 AM

@Pete Mortenson (and others)--Apple has published a feature set for the iPhone Exchange client. There's many a slip between announcing features and implementing them. I said the iPhone enterprise security and manageability won;t be as good as BlackBerry's because the Microsoft ActiveSync feature set is not as rich as RIM's.

BES (or Motorola's Good Mobile Messenging) vs. ActiveSync Direct Push offers enterprises a basic architectural choice. In the RIM/Good approach, network management of mobile devices is effectively outsourced; the Microsoft approach is much more do-it-yourself. I can argue this one both ways and have experience running all three. So far, corporations have generally favored the RIM approach and I think that will continue to be the case.

Steve Wildstrom

May 12, 2008 09:18 AM

@Stephen Brewer. No, not yet anyway. Visual Voicemail is a partnership between Apple and the carrier, AT&T in the U.S. For it to really work right, the carrier has to give the service access to the voicemail servers. There are third-party Visual Voicemail-like solutions out there and if AT&T wanted to offer them on the BlackBerry it could be arranged. But there's no indication it will be.

lindsey jonas

May 12, 2008 09:37 AM

this looks like a beasting phone.
iphone is better though!


May 12, 2008 09:40 AM

blackberry is pretty freaking sweet!
i have a pink one and i LOVE it!
yeah baby!


May 12, 2008 10:29 AM

Biased review if you ask me.

1. Misinformation about Apple's publicly announced Enterprise Support.

2. Terrible comparison of screen resolution between phones (resolution and screen size are not the only factors that influence "sharpness").

3. Claim that "hacking" iPhones is a concern of CIO's without any way of supporting it. Current contracts and upgrade costs are a more probable cause.

I really do enjoy reading BW, but please try to report news, not just your personal opinion when you write for such a well respected publication.

Steve Wildstrom

May 12, 2008 10:33 AM

@Stephen Brewer. No, not yet anyway. Visual Voicemail is a partnership between Apple and the carrier, AT&T in the U.S. For it to really work right, the carrier has to give the service access to the voicemail servers. There are third-party Visual Voicemail-like solutions out there and if AT&T wanted to offer them on the BlackBerry it could be arranged. But there's no indication it will be.


May 12, 2008 10:57 AM

It may not be designed as an iPhone killer, but many people will prefer it. Among other things, when it comes to fast, accurate, texting; iPhone can't touch Blackberry.

Steve Wildstrom

May 12, 2008 11:07 AM

@Andrew--I try not to get into arguments with commenters but...
1) For iPhone enterprise security and management to be the equal of blackBerry Enterprise Server, Microsoft would have to make significant improvements in ActiveSync. this obne isn;t in Apple's control.
2) I don't know on what basis you've say the screen comparison is terrible. I've seen both displays. The iPhone--it has to be to leave room for a real keyboard is great. The Bold's display is smaller but at least as sharp and very, very bright.
3)I never talked about hacking iPhones. The enterprise choice will depend in large part on whether they want to go with the Microsoft or RIM model of mobile deployment. They are very different.

Joe McLaughlin

May 12, 2008 02:21 PM

Put me on the list when the phone people come pushing their special deals. This looks like one sweet gadget!

urban inker

May 12, 2008 03:58 PM

I think it's great - love that it's smaller than the curve yet still substantial and not 'cutesy' like the pearl.


May 12, 2008 06:25 PM

I am completely over the PC v Mac war and wish people would follow suit. Pick the product you like and be done with it. Why Apple users are so compelled to run around with big post-its on their foreheads that say 'I'm better' is beyond me. Particularly when each company is essentially after different markets. (This is part of the problem with Apple -- big unnecessary attitude.) This phone looks fantastic and I would love to have it as soon as it is released.


May 12, 2008 08:46 PM

Windows Mobile Smartphones are still better. Blackberry are not has advance than the Windows Mobile SMartphones.

Kevin Restivo

May 12, 2008 08:54 PM

RIM has at least three advantages over Apple that will help it prevail in what has become a full-blown battle for the affection of gadget lovers everywhere.

1) ability to innovate. RIM's BlackBerry devices are lighter, more durable and have far greater utility than the iPhone.

2) relationships; namely with the world's wireless carriers (in North America this point is especially true). these aren't developed overnight and RIM is more or less willing to play ball with wireless carriers unlike Apple. Also to its advantage is that RIM has a proven track record of generating high average revenue per user for carriers. This will help RIM as the major wireless carriers decide which of the many smartphones available it dedicates the most sales and marketing efforts towards.

3) reliability. Apple may have generated a lot of buzz because of its iPhone now but the BlackBerry has a proven engineering track record which Apple will be hard pressed to match.

Todd R

May 12, 2008 10:11 PM

What do reporters know? Read the following article:


May 12, 2008 10:28 PM

Hey Kevin have you read "Apple iPhone Will Fail in a Late, Defensive Move" by Matthew Lynn? He predicts the iPhone will fail using similar points.

You guys should get together have some tea or something.


May 13, 2008 12:43 AM

"1) ability to innovate. RIM's BlackBerry devices are lighter, more durable and have far greater utility than the iPhone."

Heh, he, he...ha...mwahhh, ha, ha, pbbbt *snicker*..

Whew! Sorry, just couldn't help it. Look, I head up IT for a small medical clinic. Admin, IT and the physicians all use BlackBerry's. They're alright, but they are not what everyone makes them out to be. There is a lot of RIM fanboyism out there that can be just as rabid as the Apple fanboys. And worse, the RIM fanboys seem to get a free pass in the corporate space. You know "no one ever got fired for buying a BlackBerry".

That said, the new device looks nice and is the first BlackBerry I'd consider getting of my own free will, but the interface between it and an iPhone are radically different and as such will appeal to very different people. I'd actually prefer the iPhone because in the medical field we deal with a lot of images and the large touch screen with multi-touch and wifi are a nice fit for that, once the corporate enhancements are actually in place.

Korg Em1

May 13, 2008 01:28 AM

Comparing RIM vs iPhone is just silly.

RIM is a phone with keyboard and is designed for email users and that's it. They use it as email client.

iPhone is more than just email client, it's a micro computer. It's for geeks who are people that read/write email, browse internet, read RSS, listen to music, watch movies, browser pictures ...etc. In next couple of months, iPhone apps will be all over iTunes and this market is huge. In June, iPhone will have VPN client that connect it to any VPN of corp, it will run Exchange Outlook client and have direct access to Outlook w/o using any other servers that crashed like RIM servers. I would not want my email to cross any RIM's gateways.


May 14, 2008 04:04 PM

The iPhone looks cool, my 15 year old brother wanted me to get one...

BlackBerry is what I have, and after the new 9000 bold, that is all I want right now, I mean...

Just look at everything it has!

I'm getting one ASAP...

bella hutabarat

May 17, 2008 12:43 AM

I love BlackBerry so much....


June 5, 2008 03:34 PM

We do not have the BBES at our office, will this new BB BOLD have the Activesync technology like the iPhone will? This "on the go" sync will help me endlessly at work and make my decision between this phone and the new 3G iphone.

Dan Rowen

July 3, 2008 12:01 PM

@David Chartier
You're wrong, the BlackBerry 9000 screen, while sporting the same resolution of the iPhone, is a smaller screen, meaning it will have a higher dpi of something more like 192-213dpi. So this screen will be far denser than the iphone screen, yay!

ahmed elbieh

December 17, 2008 06:50 AM

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February 5, 2009 08:42 PM

ugg! I want BOTH! I want my bb bold for practical daily use of email. I get a LOT of email. I want an iphone for the browser.


February 5, 2009 11:36 PM

I am writing this comment from my G4 Mac Laptop. I am not against Apple products at all. I have had over a half a dozen smart phones, including an iphone, blackjack, blackjack 2 and also a blackberry curve. By FAR, the Blackberry is the MOST reliable and BEST working phone I have ever had.
I use over 3000 minutes a month, over 2500 text messages (*some of them picture mails), and I also get my email.

Main problems with Iphone:
1. NO MMS for picture mail? why? what if you wanna mail someone a picture who does not get email on their phone?

2. I Wear out batteries. On all of the phones i have owned, i have had to replace the battery. How do you replace your battery on the iphone? dont. you get a blackberry

3. proprietary proprietary proprietary. with my blackberry i can use anybodys computer to hook my phone up to with a standard mini usb cable with NO SOFTWARE and put any mp3 or picture either on my phone or on their computer in seconds.

4. Phone call quality is SUB par. Not just with my own, but also when talking on the phone to people with iphones, the quality of the calls are low and dropped calls happen. This is just weird considering how great at&t's service is. I have never had this issue with any other phone. Anyone else notice this?

Unless you enjoy pulling your battery off every 6 hours to reactivate the data services. I remember often having to pull my blackjack and blackjack 2 battery all the time. when i put it back in i would receive all of my emails and mms texts from the past few hours.

To sum it up. The blackberry just WORKS. It is extremely customizable, reliable and also offers a large variety of apps, like the iphone. The phone call quality is amazing and my service is always stronger than other people, even if they have at&t.

The lack of a proprietary heart, has given the blackberry the edge to win mine...and it seems to be better in every category. I have 2 laptops, an ipod touch and a couple of desktops to browse the internet on...and to be totally honest, all of the mobile browsing that I do is easily taken care of with my Blackberry. I have not noticed a problem with my ability to browse. Given that this seems to be the only benefit of the Iphone, Is it worth all of the down sides of the iphone for the gap of browsing performance between it and the blackberry?

Mike M
Long Island, NY


May 23, 2009 11:07 PM

How mach ex9000 program. Please inform me.


September 7, 2009 01:38 PM

I phone will never kill blackberry

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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