Blog Post

BlackBerry Gets a Bold Refresh with Wi-Fi Calling

blackberry-bold-9700Research In Motion (s rimm) today makes the next BlackBerry Bold version official. The Blackberry Bold 9700 runs OS 5.0, keeps the stunning 360 x 480 display, adds touch-sensitive trackpad and supports calls over Wi-Fi. Some folks have said this is the first BlackBerry with the Wi-Fi calling using UMA, or Unlicensed Mobile Access. But I seem to recall that T-Mobile offered a BlackBerry Curve when rolling out its UMA service back in 2007 — maybe I have one of those memory leaks all the PCs seem to experience?

In any case, I do think it’s the first BlackBerry to offer UMA support on AT&T’s network. And that’s kind of interesting since the carrier is testing a femtocell deviceI explored some of this femtocell vs. UMA bit in a recent GigaOM Pro report (subscription required), and each solution has merits. But enough about different wireless communications methods. What else did RIM pack into the Bold 9700?

  • Sleek design measuring 4.29″ x 2.36″ x 0.56″ and weighing only 4.3 oz
  • 2.44” light-sensing display 480 x 360 resolution at 245 ppi
  • Highly tactile full QWERTY keyboard BlackBerry OS
  • 3.2MP camera with variable zoom, autofocus, flash and video recording
  • Built-in GPS for maps and other location-based applications, as well as photo geotagging
  • Media player for videos, pictures and music, plus support for BlackBerry Desktop Manager for both PCs and Macs, and BlackBerry Media Sync
  • 256 MB Flash memory
  • 1500 mAh battery for six hours of talk time, 19 days standby, 35 hours of music playback
  • microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 16GB cards today and is expected to support 32GB cards when available (a 2GB card is included)
  • Premium and easy-to-access phone features, background noise suppression technology, and high-quality speakerphone
  • One version with support for UMTS/HSDPA 2100/1900/850/800 MHz and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM
  • Another version that supports UMTS/HSDPA 2100/1700/900 MHz and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM

AT&T customers will pay $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate, while T-Mobile hasn’t yet announced pricing details. Both carriers say that the phone is due to hit in the coming weeks and will be available before the holidays.

6 Responses to “BlackBerry Gets a Bold Refresh with Wi-Fi Calling”

  1. Blackberry is the king of emails and communications. There is no other phone on the market that has a better keyboard than the berry. BBM is a huge selling point as well and it is the most secure device you can own of any cell phone (I wonder why the president owns one, as well as mega corporations like Boeing and even executive officers from companies like Google and Apple use blackberry)

  2. Charles Beall

    In addition to the T-Mobile BB Curve 8900, the Blackberry Pearl 8120 also has UMA calling. I have the Pearl and my wife the Curve and the UMA calling is outstanding. I frankly forget I have it when at home. It transfers calls to and from the T-Mobile cell network fairly well but occasionally drops, particularly when I am on the fringe of my home network and keep going back and forth. Please note that I use my regular 802.11g router, not any special router.

  3. I dunno. Any use of Wi-Fi on a Blackberry (or at least those tweaked by Rogers in Canada) is far from seamless or convenient,the browser is lousy and 3rd Party software that *should* work off of Wi-Fi – but won’t and requires data access – simply exacerbates the situation.

    Offering the capability to do Wi-Fi phone calls is only valuable if the BB’s own OS is stable enough to handle it, if it works and the wireless provider will permit it.

  4. Patrick Bossman

    I have Curve 8900 on T-Mobile and have been using UMA extensively. It occasionally drops when you “switch” from UMA to T-mobile network. But generally, it works awesome.

    It’s $10/month for unlimited hotspot calling.

    Not sure how it works if you don’t have hotspot calling.

    • I cant wait for this on ATT. But I still don’t get why they charge extra for UMA. Using UMA you are removing traffic from their crumbling (AT&T) cellular infrastructure. their should be some type of credit on your bill for using EMA vs the towers. :)

      • Patrick Bossman

        I mostly use my phone from my home office sitting right next to my router. I used 1200 UMA minutes and less than 200 other minutes.

        If I didn’t have unlimited calling, I would have to be on a more expensive plan and the phone would not be economical for me.

        They do have to provide the technology for calling over wifi and switching from wifi to the network.

        But ultimately, I assume they charge because I’ll pay for it. If ATT offered wifi over UMA for free, I’d switch as soon as my contract with T-Mobile was up.