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The BlackBerry Bold 9700 - a smaller, lighter version of RIM’s flagship phone - is to see New Zealand release.
The 9700 comes in two identical versions. One has frequency support that includes the 900MHz and 2100MHz bands (that is, Vodafone-friendly), the other 850MHz and 2100MHz (that is, compatible with Telecom’s XT network). 2degrees is also in the process of boosting its network to support 2100MHz 3G.
However, so far, only Vodafone has confirmed local release. A date has yet to be set, but it will be before the end of the year.
As well as adding 3G support and squeezing the Bold’s trademark full qwerty keyboard into a smaller, 122g, 109 x 60 x 14.1mm form factor (see Boy Genius pic above), the Bold boosts processor power to a beefy 624MHz.
PC World, which calls the 9700 "slimmed down and sophisticated and "the best BlackBerry available". Some loyalists might find the new mini touchpad, which replaces the trackball, disconcerting, but "BlackBerry trackballs get dirty and start to stick, and sometimes even fall out with a lot of use. The responsive touchpad gives the Bold the feel of a touchscreen device, particularly when you're swiping through pictures. "
Onboard memory remains modest at 256MB, although there is a bundled 2GB SD memory card, and card options are expected to run up to 32GB.
Other frills include built-in GPS and wi-fi, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 3.2mP camera and a 2.44-inch light-sensing 480 x 360 pixel display.
Edging is chrome, and the back is “leatherette” (aka fake leather). RIM says the fretted keyboard design will allow for accurate typing despite the crimp-down.
See the full tech specs on RIM’s site here.