Battle of the mobiles: The new BlackBerry Boldly challenges the iPhone

Posted on 7:05 AM by Sameer Shah

It is set to be one of the most bitter battles the gadget industry has seen.

BlackBerry today unveiled a new version of its emailing mobile phone, declaring war on arch rivals Apple and Nokia.

The new phone, called the Bold, will go on sale in the UK this month, and will initially be available at Carphone Warehouse and T-Mobile.

The BlackBerry, nicknamed crackberry by users because of its addictive nature, has already proved hugely popular with business users.

Company bosses hope the new BlackBerry Bold will help it take on Apple's slick handset.

'This is really the next generation of phones, and we are confident we can take on the competition,' Philip Lander of RIM, the company behind the BlackBerry, said today.

'We believe our users want a keyboard, and that they are going to be very happy with the Bold for business and personal use.'

The company has already thrown a lavish launch party in London for the gadget, with guests including Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel Stevens being entertained by The Feeling.

However, experts warned that both companies could be in for a long battle.

'Both these companies are really gunnning for the high end of the mobile phone market,' said Tom Dunmore of gadget magazine Stuff.

'Consumers already seem to fall into two camps, iPhone fans or BlackBerry fans.

'I think that the new BlackBerry will make that decision harder, but realistically the decision comes down to how much you want to email.

'I'm a big fan of the iPhone, but even I would not try and write emails of more than a few lines on it, whereas with a BlackBerry long emails are no problem.'

Apple, meanwhile, has been dogged with problems since the launch of its iPhone 3G last month.

Huge queues formed outside stores after computer systems failed on its launch day, and users have complained of phone crashes and problems with Apple's online email service. Despite this, the company sold more than a million handsets on its first weekend.

Review of BlackBerry Bold by Mark Prigg

The first thing that strikes you about the Bold is its size.

Although of roughly the same dimensions as the iPhone 3G, it seems a lot larger and has a bulkier feel.

The screen is superb, and the widescreen display shows the redesigned menu system well. It's also impressive when watching films, although not quite as good as Apple's machine.

However, it is the keyboard which really gives the BlackBerry an edge. It is excellent - far better than any other portable device I have used.

The keys are very tactile, and typing speeds are far quicker than with an iPhone.

Rather than the iPhone's touchscreen, a trackball under the screen is used to navigate around, and it's easy to get used to.

BlackBerry has also tried to improve its image as a personal phone, rather than a business one, and the software supplied makes it easy to load music and films, although there is only a measly 1gb of storage (although it can be expanded to 8gb via a memory card).

There's also a full size headphone socket, and sound quality is very impressive. The 2 megapixel camera is pretty decent, can record video and has a flash. There's also satellite navigation, wifi and 3G speeds.

In fact, on features the iPhone and Bold are almost identical. For email addicts the keyboard on the BlackBerry really makes it the best phone on the market. For music fans or general users, though Apple's iPhone still has the edge.

The Bold is, however, a clear sign that Apple cannot rest on its laurels.

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