by Al Sacco

RIM BlackBerry 9000: No Touch Screen, Battery Issues or Front-Facing Camera…Yet

May 07, 2008 3 mins
Data Center

Early device reviews are one thing. Reviews before the manufacturer even confirms a product exists, well, that’s a whole different ball game. But that’s exactly what Kevin Michaluk of gave us yesterday when he revealed that he got his mitts on a Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry 9000 smartphone, which has yet to ship publicly, purchased for $828–on eBay of all places.

How that highly-anticipated and much-discussed device ended up for sale on eBay remains a mystery—one that RIM’s probably sleuthing out as you read this–but what is clear is that Michaluk has posted the very first review of the BlackBerry 9000, along with an unboxing video and a video tour of the new operating system, version 4.6.

image of the BlackBerry 9000 from
The RIM BlackBerry 9000

I’ve been covering the rift of rumors surrounding RIM’s next generation device for months now: Will the BlackBerry 9000 feature a touch screen? Will it have 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS? A front-facing camera for videoconferencing? Will those features mean a sacrifice in battery life?

Now, we’ve got answers to many of these questions. Let’s run through the list of features, according to, and then we’ll shoot down or confirm the most common rumors.

(Note: Michaluk wisely points out on numerous occasions throughout his reviews and videos that the unit he’s obtained is [obviously] a pre-release unit and RIM will very likely include a variety of hardware and software tweaks in the official version. It’s also worth noting that Michaluk’s device is very likely just one model in a line of 9000-series handhelds, which could include very different features sets.)

Here’s what we know so far:


  • Bands – Quad-band GPRS/EDGE: 800/850/1800/1900MHz

  • HSDPA: 850/1900/2100MHz

  • Display – HVGA Color LCD (480×320)

  • Camera – 2MP

  • Wi-Fi – a,b,g

  • A-GPS

  • Externally accessible expandable memory – microSD

  • Battery – 1500mAh

  • Weight – about 140 grams or 5 ounces

  • Operating System Software – version (67)

  • On Board Memory (File Total) – 73.4 MB

  • On Board Memory (File Free as received) – 19.8 MB

Those specs confirm a few rumors, including that the device is indeed 3G—in fact, its HSDPA support means it’s 3.5G. It also has both Wi-Fi and GPS and runs BlackBerry OS v4.6.

It’s also clear from the reviews and video that this particular BlackBerry 9000 does not have a touch screen–though a recent New York Times article suggests such a device is indeed in the works, and it may not be long before we do see a touch screen RIM BlackBerry 9000 “Apple Killer.”

Initial reports from bloggers and other tech sites that claimed to have first-hand knowledge of the device suggested its battery life was extremely poor when using Wi-Fi, GPS and its data connection. However, Michaluk claims that he hasn’t noticed any significant difference in battery life from that of his BlackBerry Curve, and that he’s sure the official device “won’t break RIM’s tradition of devices that easily go 24+ hours under ‘normal’ use.” Eagled-eyed viewers of the video will also notice that the battery that came with this device doesn’t appear to be an official RIM battery; we’d expect that not to be the case with the final version product.

Finally, what

about the front-facing camera and videoconferencing? I shot down these rumors shortly after I read them, and Michaluk confirmed my assertions in an e-mail: This BlackBerry 9000 does not have a front-facing camera and therefore could not be used for two-way videoconferencing.

That doesn’t mean that another 9000 device won’t have this functionality, but it’s not present in this particular unit.

So there you are, finally a hands-on report on RIM’s next generation, 3G BlackBerry. For more, check out