New, Camera-Less BlackBerry Bold Yanked from Japanese Market: More Trouble for RIM
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
I was more than a little envious earlier this week when I read that Japan’s largest wireless carrier, NTT DoCoMo, had released a new version of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 smartphone with quad-band 3G–I’ve been waiting for T-Mobile to do so for months. However, in a case of the ol’ Too Good To Be Trues—at least for the time being—the carrier today announced that it’s recalling the device due to overheating concerns.
The news is the latest setback for BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM), which has come under fire repeatedly over the past year for a couple of high-profile issues with the BlackBerry Bold and its touch-screen-based sibling, the Storm 95xx. RIM and AT&T were initially supposed to launch the Bold in the United States late last summer, but delays over software quality and 3G connectivity issues kept AT&T from releasing it until November.
Then there are the ongoing software issues with the BlackBerry Storm, which has been the target of criticism since the day it was released. The “official” software available for the Storm through U.S. carrier Verizon Wireless is buggy, to say the least. “Stable” OS code for the Storm is just now hitting the Internet via “leaks,” three months after the device’s U.S. release.
Coincidentally, the new quad-band Bold was also supposed to be available in a camera-less version. The DoCoMo Bold’s current 2.0 megapixel shooter is now “optional,” according to RIM. Just last week, I wrote a post explaining why it is time for RIM to release a new BlackBerry sans camera. It’s curious that RIM would offer a camera-less Bold in Japan first, as the United States and North America as a whole are clearly the company’s largest markets. Still, the existence of such a device suggests that it’s only a matter of time before a U.S. carrier offers a camera-less Bold.
Another enhancement to the Japanese version of the Bold is a newly-designed, full QWERTY keyboard with Japanese text input support, though this new keypad seems to be related to the overheating problems.
Last year was a tough one for RIM, and another high-profile recall—U.K. carrier Orange ceased distributing the Bold in October over software issues—is the last thing RIM needs to start 2009.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.