The recently-released BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 has generated some much-needed buzz for RIM. From the improved user experience of BlackBerry 7 OS and 1.2GHz processor to the generous keyboard and 640×480 touchscreen, the Bold is a solid option for today’s smartphone shoppers.
Now, a device that might be a snazzed-up version of the Bold 9900 has appeared running on China Mobile’s network. It’s been labeled as the BlackBerry Bold 9980, and the PCB code shown in teardown photos doesn’t match that of 9900. BlackBerry 7 OS is onboard, and the Wi-Fi, 3G, and NFC hardware looks virtually identical. Port placements on both phones are also similar, the 9980′s overall design is a major departure.
Its silver front and textured, rubberized back are a stylish upgrade from the more standard-issue RIM gloss black found on the Bold 9900. Engadget has also confirmed that the device is going to be hitting the streets of Beijing in limited quantities very soon — including an iced-out version.
The word “Proceeding” emblazoned on the mystery phone’s front has raised some eyebrows and lead to speculation that it could be some sort of prototype. I’m going to lean towards a slip-up in translation, however. Proceeding has several English synonyms, including move, action, and progress — all of which sound like pretty snappy monikers for a smartphone. It’s not a stretch to say that whoever put the finishing touches on this BlackBerry simply kicked this one off the goalpost when picking the label text.
If nothing else, it’s a bold (sorry) design move for RIM and a handsome departure from the other handsets in their line-up. The sharp edges and edge-to-edge keyboard give it an attractive, modern design that will ensure it stands out from the rest of the boring bankers’ phones out there.
So what do you think? Is it a prototype, the next BlackBerry smartphone, or something else entirely?