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BlackBerry buzz: Is the new Bold a real iPhone rival?

Doug Gross
BlackBerry Bold 9780 is being promoted with sneak peeks and emphasis on its iPhone-like social features.
BlackBerry Bold 9780 is being promoted with sneak peeks and emphasis on its iPhone-like social features.
  • BlackBerry Bold 9780 getting buzz pre-release
  • RIM's new phone coming out in November, starting at $129
  • The new Bold features more social features, better display and memory

(CNN) -- Buzz about a BlackBerry?

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 appears to be creating some excitement in the world of gadget lovers -- no mean feat in a mobile market where Apple and Android get most of the love.

Research in Motion officially unveiled the new Bold last week, and T-Mobile announced it would go on sale November 17.

Then, this weekend, RIM posted an interactive demo of the phone's specs. On Monday, the anticipated phone was one of the most-searched terms on Google.

View RIM's demo of the BlackBerry Bold 9780.

The language used in the press release shows that RIM is pushing the new phone as a lot more than an office-friendly workhorse.

"A premium and iconic design."

"Elegantly styled and packed with advanced communications."

"Compact and stylish."

Doesn't sound like a company trying to sell a chunky, black e-mail machine, does it?

The phone, running RIM's new BlackBerry 6 operating system, has been anticipated for months. Leaks (and we all know some leaks are more accidental than others) have been showing off details about the new Bold since early this summer.

The dribs-and-drabs teasing of its release appears to take a page out of the playbook of Apple, which has perfected the art of creating pre-release buzz.

The demo highlights some very non-traditional functions for the traditionally staid BlackBerry line:

• A "Feeds" application will let users post to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace or other social networks.

• The BlackBerry 6 operating system will take Web browsing "to the next level," according to the demo. Multiple sites can be visited with tabbed browsing and users can pan and zoom on sites -- a feature that sounds not unlike the iPhone's touchscreen capabilities.

• A 5-megapixel camera will be a big leap from the Bold 9700's 3.2-megapixel version and match the iPhone's camera.

The price could also be attractive. The baseline Bold 9780 will sell for $129 with a two-year T-Mobile contract. That's $70 less than a 16-gigabyte iPhone 4.

Compare with a look at the iPhone 4's specs.

As BlackBerry blog CrackBerry notes, it also doubles the current Bold's internal memory to 512 megabytes. The Flash memory can be expanded to 32GB, putting it in iPhone territory.

The blog post also reflects some of the excitement for the new gadget.

"FINALLY!!! For soooooo many of us traditional BlackBerry users out there, this is the new device from Research In Motion that we have been waiting for," CrackBerry's Kevin Michaluk wrote.

The BlackBerry Torch was supposed to be RIM's rival for the iPhone, with its slide-out touchscreen and enhanced social features. But it appeared to fizzle fairly quickly after its release in August.


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