RIM Confirms Release of New Smartphones

Following several days of anticipation, Research in Motion on Wednesday announced plans to introduce five new BlackBerry smartphones based on the BlackBerry 7 Operating System.

The Canada-based company is unveiling two new BlackBerry Bold models and three new BlackBerry Torch models, representing the largest global launch in the history of the embattled company.

RIM noted that more than 225 carriers and distribution partners have begun or completed around 500 certification programs for the five handsets.

The handsets will start to become available through carriers around the world later this month, RIM said. And while RIM didn’t mention specific dates nor carriers, there have been a number of recent leaks related to timelines. And both AT&T and Sprint followed RIM’s Wednesday announcement, saying they will carry the new phones. Again, no launch dates were given.

The BlackBerry 7 devices feature a faster Web browser as well as optimized zooming and panning for smoother Web navigation and optimized HTML5 performance for gaming and video.

This is the largest global launch of BlackBerry smartphones in our history,” said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO of Research in Motion, in a statement. The BlackBerry solution offers a best-in-class mobile communications experience that customers love and we think they will be thrilled by the faster performance, enhanced browsing and richer multimedia delivered by these powerful new BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Torch smartphones.”

BlackBerry Bold, Torch Handsets

Two of the handsets, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930, are the companys thinnest smartphones, featuring a big keyboard and fabulous touch display, RIM said.

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 includes a large 3.2-inch high-resolution touch display and a keyboard that easily slides out to allow for faster typing.

The BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones feature a 3.7-inch display the largest ever on a BlackBerry smartphones and are optimized for displaying such content as Web pages, photos and videos, RIM said.

Brighter future for RIM?

The global launch could help RIM better compete with other smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, shining some light on what has otherwise been a gloomy year for the maker of the BlackBerry.

Last month, RIM announced that it was cutting 2,000 jobs in a decision that it asserted was a prudent and necessary step for the long-term success of the company.”

The BlackBerry maker has struggled mightily recently in keeping up with Apples iPhone and Android-based devices in the smartphone space, and analysts have questioned whether it is time for the senior management co-CEOs Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to step aside.

Although RIM last month also announced some changes to its senior management, Lazaridis and Balsillie continue to lead the company.

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