Look what landed in my inbox this morning.
The picture you see below is the Web's very first official image of Research In Motion's (RIM) latest--and currently unannounced--BlackBerry smartphone: The BlackBerry "Bold 9700" or Onyx, as it was codenamed.
T-Mobile U.S.A. PR sent this image, along with the following information, to me before I agreed to any embargo , and after some careful deliberation, I decided to publish it.
Additional details on the T-Mobile BlackBerry Bold 9700 or "Onyx" reported on blogs and other gadget sites are unofficial at this point, but most of the assumed technical specifications are known. Read "BlackBerry Bold "9700/Onyx:" New Details, Pictures" for specifics. Hell, we've even seen a leaked picture of a T-Mobile-branded Bold 9700.
Along with the official 9700 image, T-Mobile also sent me this tidbit:
"The BlackBerry 'Onyx' sports a premium experience and design with a high-gloss black finish and leather grain detail on the back. Boasting features such as high-speed 3G Web browsing, Wi-Fi calling, visual voicemail and support for corporate and personal e-mail options, the 'Onyx' will satisfy all your on-the-go needs. Also the phone comes preloaded with mobile applications from BlackBerry App World, including Amazon MP3 store for quick and easy music downloads and TeleNav GPS Navigator for turn-by-turn directions."
You can see T-Mobile's still using the name "Onyx," probably because RIM hasn't made the device official yet, but this is indeed the BlackBerry Bold 9700 that I predicted would be coming to T-Mobile. And it looks like my timeframe was dead on, as well, because T-Mobile says it plans to release the device before end of 2009. The new information was under embargo until early November, so you can expect an official announcement right around that time.
The device will also support UMA, or Wi-Fi calling, as part of T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home service. And it looks as though RIM's and/or T-Mobile's partnering with Amazon.com, too, as the device will ship with an Amazon MP3 BlackBerry app. Amazon already offers a BlackBerry app, but I'm guessing/hoping the one that ships with the Bold 9700 is a revamped version, as I'm not at all impressed with the existing app's very basic functionality.
One more thing: T-Mobile plans to release a white version of the new BlackBerry Curve 8520 next month.
Finally, I'd like to clarify my policy regarding contact on upcoming products. I never break embargoes or NDAs that I agree to honor. Never have, never (knowingly) will. However, I frequently receive e-mail messages from PR representatives which include information on new products and a "request" to honor an associated embargo. That doesn't work for me. If you send along information to me before I agree to any embargo, it's fair game.
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