Research In Motion on Monday introduced its first major new BlackBerry model in more than a year: the Bold, a high-end model that further demonstrates the company's desire to make tools for both work and play.
The Bold, or 9000, has twice the screen resolution of the current Curve model, making for a very sharp display. It matches the resolution, but not the size, of the screen on Apple's iPhone, which has emerged as a potent competitor in the "smart phone" category.
It also has much more internal memory, a glossy metallic look, and adds corporate-strength Wi-Fi capabilities to third-generation cellular and Bluetooth radios.
Otherwise it stays close to the formula of the Curve, with a horizontal screen above a trackball and a keyboard with one letter per key.
Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM didn't announce a price for the Bold, nor agreements with specific carriers. It said the phone would be available from various carriers this summer.
The initial model would support GSM networks, the kind employed by AT&T and T-Mobile. Later models could work on the Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Wireless networks, according to RIM co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis.
Like the Curve and the Pearl, BlackBerry's consumer-oriented phones, the Bold has a full-size headset jack and a camera that can also capture video. At the same time, it has dual-band Wi-Fi, a feature previously only found on a model aimed at the corporate market.
The Bold will also have exchangable back plates in different colors, a first for a BlackBerry.
RIM also was set to announce a $150 million fund that will invest in companies creating software for BlackBerrys and other mobile devices. The Royal Bank of Canada and Thomson Reuters are co-investors.
The BlackBerry Partners Fund will be managed by JLA Ventures and RBC Venture Partners.
The move echoes Apple's March announcement that it would set up a $100 million "iFund" for the development of iPhone and iPod Touch applications.