Everything you need to know about the BlackBerry Bold 9900 in 10 minutes!

By Kevin Michaluk on 13 Aug 2011 04:44 pm EDT

Following up Bla1ze's Everything you need to know about the BlackBerry Torch 9810 in 10 minutes video, I figured I'd better toss up my version for the BlackBerry Bold 9900. It might not be quite everything you need to know, but if you check out the video above I give a pretty good visual walk through of the Bold 9900's hardware and take a gander of what's new in BlackBerry 7. If you're jonesing for a new Bold 9900, this will help pass the time (or it might be torture... sorry about that!).

As you can tell from the video, I'm loving the BlackBerry Bold 9900. It really is the traditional BlackBerry experience on steroids, with beautifully-built hardware to match. The in-depth analysis is coming in the full written CrackBerry review, which will be hitting the blogs tomorrow (it's been so long since I've reviewed a new BlackBerry Smartphone that it's taking me a bit longer than normal... and I also wanted to take a couple extra days to really use the device and see how the device performance and battery life holds up in various conditions). Stay tuned for more!

Reader comments

Everything you need to know about the BlackBerry Bold 9900 in 10 minutes!


Do you think RIM will update the 9900/9930 and the other OS 7 smartphones with the QNX after its release on the BB 'Colt'? Like they did with my BB bold 9650 (BB5 to BB6)

Would be nice to know :)

+1 Nice to see Kevin excited about Blackberries again. Come on RIM, lets see the app that unleashes this keyboard on the Playbook. Who needs a bluetooth keyboard when you've got the new Bold. BAM!

I love how excited and ethused you sound while talking about this device, thanks for the review. Now i am hard pressed to decide btween bold and torch 2, still may go with another torch

Bold Winked at me coupe of times, and i winked back and whisper to his ear "Sorry Dude but i love the torch" and beside that i have some accessories from crackberry.com i cant pick u up now...("_) but maybe later,for my sister.

Think you nailed it in this video... the keyboard really is almost 2 leaps better than anything else out there, either virtual or touchly-feely ones. Performance is incredible (including the graphics), and OS 7 does it's thing very well without getting in the way. Screen is bright and crisp, though the black is not as deep as say the Samsung screens; however, upside to that is that I can actually use my phone outside...

I have AT&T and waiting myself.

They are probably the worst carrier when it comes to phone lineup updates.

I have a few free lines that have been out of contract for a long time, Yet I pay the same amount of money and have no interest in any phone in the lineup.

Come on 9900!!! I fear AT&T is butchering the phone as we speak.

Honestly, AT&T should allow consumers to decide which phone they want. They probably don't want to release the Bold because it has better specs than the current iPhone. That tells me the new iPhone is probably out in October or November.
I only went to AT&T for the Torch but after they were the only carrier to block the bridge app for the Playbook that was the last straw. As soon as the Bold 9930 goes to Sprint I'm gone.
I like the Torch, and the T2 will be way better but I live the Bold better and just don't care to have AT&T as my carrier.
It is frustrating:
The Bold has 1.2Ghz vs the iP 1Ghz and more RAM
The Bold is a world phone with all carriers the iP is not on VZ
The Bold does not drop your calls if you hold it a certain way
The Bold has better e-mail and messaging
but AT&T is not going to let you buy it until the iP comes out with better specs even though the Bold is being released worldwide!
I guess my position is AT&T sucks! Honestly, this is the sort of thing I would expect from microsoft but as apple gets bigger they keep looking more like their old foe.

Great video and great phone! The camera being 5mp is no problem for me, but the lack of autofocus is HUGE. There are thinner phones with both autofocus AND front facing cameras, so I am at a loss over RIM's decision. Seems more like a cost cutting decision and it's a real shame. It's a great overall package, however.

They was thinking as a business scale not as a camera phone, "Nikon is perfect for pictures" in my opinion a super busy person it doesn't have to much time for photo shoot he need a phone for his business.

I really enjoyed the video! Well done & your enthusiasm has rubbed off. I had just about ruled this BlackBerry out in favor of the new full touch screen Torch. But now I'm torn. I look forward to seeing this 9900 in person at my local AT&T store when it is launched there.

You might want to try out a Verizon or Sprint version, as AT&T could take as long as November to release it!

I second this. That's one of the only apps I use a lot besides the core bb functions so I really want to see how it performs.

Hit me up with some question on the forum and i will put that map to the test but i don't know what exactly you guys wanna see about the map. So look for "Unknownerror507" and send a private MSG

Thanx Kevin for making my difficult decision for me , Blackberry Bold 9930 all the way for me !!! Now if i can get Sprint to make it official I'll be a happy man ...

The new keyboard is truly a game changer as Kevin says...it makes typing on it enjoyable, it's hard to describe if you haven't tried it but the key response is sublime.

I find tapping to zoom in works better than pinching to zoom when surfing web pages, and makes it a very good browsing experience even with the smaller screen. If you don't need to shoot close up shots buy this phone, it is truly satisfying to use, it brings a smile to my face everyday so far. Sounds like Apple marketing malarkey but it's true for me.

Not that my opinion means anything, but a few people are wondering between the torch and bold. I went from the 9700 to the torch when it was first released. I picked up the 9900, and its like I'm in love with BB again! I love typing on it and find myself writing longer messages again.Hope it helps, but the keyboard is just fluid as anything.
I bought the otterbox for it through crackberry, and it came in two days. Also, bought the Ballistic case for my playbook through crackberry, and it came in two days.
I'm very happy with Crackberry so far.

Nice overview just 1 correction.

The plastic piece on the bottom is definitely not for the antenna. It's to isolate the two charging contacts from each other. If the metal band was there then there would be a likely risk of the two (positive & negative) contacts shorting and destroying your Bold 9900.

That's not a correction.. that's an additional point. Your point is correct... but so is mine (I know for a fact). So let's say there are two purposes for going plastic on the strip. :)

Nope, take apart a blackberry and look at the antenna design. internal antennas are always flat and have a lot of surface area to maximize reception. That little 8mm wide (Up/down) strip definitely does not house an antenna, also defeats the purpose if less than 20mm (left/right)each way there is a metal band. Unless RIM's engineering team radically re-engineered and re-thought how antennae work..

Not trolling, I work in the radio communications field ( Radio Controlled Cranes) and know 1 or 2 things about antennae. :)

OK, we're miscommunicating here.  I'm not saying the STRIP of plastic houses the antenna. That would be dumb and ridiculous.  The strip of plastic really is just a strip of plastic. The antenna sits within the device, sort of in that chin area of below the keyboard (it's pretty big and clips onto the board.. here's a pic of how it works on the Torch - the black piece getting clipped on is the antenna):  

All I'm saying is that RIM could have made more of that plastic strip at the bottom of the phone metal if they wanted to, but the plastic surface area is better for the antenna working within the device.  The more of the antenna they cover with metal casing around the device the worse, and they're already covering it up on the left and right sides of the device with the casing... having plastic at the bottom exposes the antenna signals more out of the bottom of the device, so it's just not plastic on the front and back. It was an intentional design decision to ensure maximum effectiveness of the antenna. Not really an argument I'm trying to debate here.. this is just what I was told by the people who know.

Ahhh!! We are miscommunicating. I took what you said to mean as the whole of the antenna is behind that plastic piece lol. We can surmise that yes the plastic piece does lower attenuation of transmission/reception AND isolates the charging contacts from each other.

Kudos on actually replying, it is not often you see editors of other major blogs responding and debating with their readers in a meaningful way!!

Hey, That's all good.

Yep... I like to reply... this isn't a job... it's a calling! Love talking and interacting with our readers. Just wish there were more hours in the day so I could do even more of it.

We'd love it Kevin. I'm still waiting to hear back from you on a Colorware Contest where this die-hard Red Wings fan would go Midnight Blue & Crimson on a new 9930 to show some love for your new Winnipeg Jets...

Speaking of which, when are we going to see a CrackBerry.com dasher board at the MTS Centre??? I wanna see Buff lay someone out and get an orange smear across their CCM helmet.

C'mon Kevin... ...Marketing 101 here. "Show us your CrackBerry" (another new contest perhaps? I got plenty more ideas up my sweater....err....sleeve.)

Have you ever considered being a radio program host on a major station?your voice is like listening to a disc jockey on the way to work!!!!you could do cb and host on radio couldn't you?anyone else agree?

WOO editing Panels. Hopefully we can add our OWN and hopefully this feature will end up on the Playbook, in future updates.

I see that you have CRAP ton of outstanding messages... Why isn't your LED going like crazy?

"In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power... BlackBerry or RED Lantern's light!"

Okay... for those of you that have the 9900. I work outside A LOT! How is this phone in direct midday sun? Some new phones out there do pretty well... some lousy... so on a 1 to 10 basis where are we at? Thanks in advance for answers.

Hi Kevin

I wanted to ask you, my dad is going overseas to buy my 9900 if it is available in Shanghai, but im a bit skeptic because there are fakes and reals at the shop. but if i do get one nd i think it looks real and stuff, can i go to a store and ask them to see whats inside because i wana see if the 9900 has the actual 1.2ghz and 8gb onboard and like the 768 ram inside. Or is there there another way finding out whats actually in the device and not some typical fake made one.

Thank you so much

you can tell the memory condition directly from the "option" of the OS. And i'm pretty sure a fake blackberry won't get the true blackberry OS, so you don't have to actually look into the hardware to distinguish whether it's real or not.

Anyone plan on telling us what happened to WIFI HotSpot?

It was widely claimed this was coming in 7 and every other OS has had it for ages.

So why is every single friggin Blackberry blog ignoring it?

Why talk about the hotspot when there's "bridge"? And I'll just leave it at that... (although I seriously agree, that does need to be talked about)

I asked RIM for a statement on it... didn't get a WHY.. just a response saying that WiFi HotSpot isn't present.

we did see some bell leaks i think that said it might be coming with software updates... so not sure. The chipset supports it and older OS builds on some of these devices had it.  could be carrriers telling rim not to do it, or maybe just rim doesn't have it working well yet.. .not sure.


Got some good info on why the 9900 doesn't have an autofocus camera (can not reveal source, but 100% accurate). I was personally very mad about the fixed focus, but the reason behind it makes perfect (business) sense. Although they could have done it, I no longer hold a grudge.

Well, emu the foo (dig the name), I emailed Kevin the reason and will leave it up to him to decide if it's worth a mention.

I probably shouldn't have said anything. I don't work for Crackberry and I'm not going to spread "news and rumors". I'll just say that it was a smart business decision on RIM's part. Sorry, I realize that I suck...

I love "cloak and dagger" as much as the next guy but I would really like to know the reason. No need to keep secrets between friends, right?

RIM said this phone is for business for ppl who need thing done on their phones, if they need a photo shootout they will buy the Torch or a good Nikon camera. In my opinion I will go with Nikon and keep my bold as a business phone or buy torch and have both. not as good as Nikon but enough for pictures.

I can't wait for Monday...(i know crazy eh). that's the day my bold is suppose to arrive. I love how much excitement Kevin has over this device. I"m much the same way. I might as well take Monday off because i'm so not going to be productive at work.

Kevin - Nice tapping at the end of the video !..it was just a single tap. very understated this time :)

Well since I have to wait until November for my phone (AT&T), does anyone know if this beast will be coming out in white?

I Love my BB Bold 9900! But it didn't come with a memory card. I was wondering if anyone who got one had one or if they do not come with one.

@kevin from crackberry.com
Kevin can you pls do more videos but comparison with iphone 4 (ios 5 beta)
-Which phone has better contact management
-Which phone has better photo capture and organization
-Which phone has better calendar
-Which phone has better mms/sms
-Which phone has better sound quality
-Which phone has better display
-which phone has better notification

Oh for the love of God.

Do your own comparisons. Order any phone of your choice from your carrier and exploit the 14 day cooling off period. I just did with the Samsung Galaxy S2 (THE benchmark, IDKW you care so much about the old iP4, it is ancient history and everyone knows all there is to know about it) and was able to draw my own conclusions.

This video was great as a ten minute overview. Wait till the full review and see how much extra info you need then.



I just got my 9900 and it's really tight. But 2 things

1) My trackpad does not light up, do I need to turn it on??
2) I cannot find that wikitude app

Any fixes for that??

btw: awesome review and dead on. This device is the one they should have/could have released last year to show what they can do well.I'm impressed....missing the hotspot, but still impressed.

@kevin from crackberry.com
Kevin can you pls do more videos but comparison with iphone 4 (ios 5 beta)
-Which phone has better contact management
-Which phone has better photo capture and organization
-Which phone has better calendar
-Which phone has better mms/sms
-Which phone has better sound quality
-Which phone has better display
-which phone has better notification

@kevin from crackberry.com
Kevin can you pls do more videos but comparison with iphone 4 (ios 5 beta)
-Which phone has better contact management
-Which phone has better photo capture and organization
-Which phone has better calendar
-Which phone has better mms/sms
-Which phone has better sound quality
-Which phone has better display
-which phone has better notification

@kevin from crackberry.com
Kevin can you pls do more videos but comparison with iphone 4 (ios 5 beta)
-Which phone has better contact management
-Which phone has better photo capture and organization
-Which phone has better calendar
-Which phone has better mms/sms
-Which phone has better sound quality
-Which phone has better display
-which phone has better notification


Superb review. Your enthusiasm mirrors my feelings about the 9900. I got mine yesterday (Friday) to replace my 9000. The 9900 is much nicer to use than the 9000 and everything about OS7 is much more intuitive than OS5

Overall its a superb phone.

In answer to an earlier comment, no the 9900 does not come with a memory card.

Well I've had my 9900 for a couple of days and I've gone back to my 9780. The reason? Apps. There just aren't enough apps for the 9900, and after all a smartphone is called that because it has the ability to run apps. More than two thirds of the 35-odd apps that I am running on my 9780 don't work at all or work in a dramatically compromised way on the 9900. I can't get BlackBerry AppWorld to run properly, and the RIM eBay app freezes the phone. Apps I've grown dependent on like Ascendo Money don't work at all. And if you do get AppWorld to work, there are almost no apps to choose from, and several of those that are supposedly OS7 compliant (e-Mobile Money, for example) don't work at all when you download them. It's like RIM forgot to get the app developers to prepare for what has, after all, been one of the longest drawn-out product launches in tech history.

So yeah, it's a nice enough device, with a good keyboard, but there aren't more than a few apps that work on it so my advice is don't buy it for a few months until it's clear that developers are going to provide the apps that make a smartphone smart and which for me are the reason I love my 9780. I plan to keep my 9900 in its box until Christmas. If the apps are there then, I'll use it - if not I'll get a fraction of what I paid for it on eBay, along with the other people jumping ship (regretfully) to a platform which works from front to back. I don't like the virtual keyboard on the iPhone 4, but I appreciate the fact that I can load the apps I want - productive apps, not games - and get it to work without a hard reset, and at this point the 9900 is pushing me further in that direction.

To be fair, you should have known that there'd be a lack of apps at gbe start. I'm sure most people on here did.

Luckily for me, my three most used apps work perfectly so not really too fussed about the rest at the moment.

To be fair, we all should know that there are NO apps when it comes to Blackberry :) Yup - thats sarcasm.

I know how you feel. When I got my Torch there were several apps I was using that were not available but they arrived promptly.
One suggestion while you wait for the apps to catch up to this new and vastly superior phone is to try downloading them as if it was another phone.
I downloaded audible.com from amazon and just selected the most recent device and it worked.
Lastly, the iP is a great device to be honest but when I left BB I was leaving from a Tour that did not even have wifi. I came back because the Torch was good enough of an improvement to outweigh the disadvantages. The antenna gate issue is real. I watched as my bars disappeared until my call got dropped. Honestly, apps are great but the main reason I have this device is to communicate and if that is out then nothing else matters. This can be solved with a case but then the phone looks like poop. Consumer report actually said not to buy the iP when it came out and Steve Jobso had to come out and say it was o.k. and all that.
By the way, the iP on Verizon is not a world phone but this device is so if you travel that makes a big difference.

As soon as this device Bold 9930 comes to Sprint I'm getting it. BB is awesome and this is the most awesome BB yet.

I have the Torch 9810 and i can feel your pain, but hey look at the bright side in about 2 moths the app world will pop up app like mushrooms and every one will be happy. The developers have to change a few codes and render the images to the new pixels and all good to go.
Till all the app will be available to my new Torch i will use the old one despite of his laziness is still a VERY GOOD phone.

One of the best things about watching this video is finding out that you can manage the panels on the home screen. I'm not a fan and use a zen style theme on my 9700 so I'm glad I dont have to go trawling for a theme. Cant wait to get my hands on it now!!

The 189mb of file free app space is really not that big a deal considering most big bb apps consists of 1-2mb's of space. I've always deleted both music and video demos whenever I get a new device. This will free up @ least 30-40mb's of extra space which is more than enough to khop a lot of apps for this bad boy. I currently have a 9780 with 37 apps installed and I still have around 295mb of space. So have no fear crackberry world!

" go try it out for yourself in-stores this is worldwide launch so you'll be able to find it in your local carrier " - Kevin ...... Wish T-mobile was releasing this phone on or around the time that you purchased yours, even on the expected Verizon date or event Sprint for that matter. lol, I want this phone :o)

I have been reading about the browser speeds and it seems we placed the BB at a disadvantage by using wifi for the test because they essentially tie with iP and Droid but when using the 3g or carrier network the BB actually is 15% faster. Any comments?

Great point. But regardless the difference in speed is maybe a half a second or so. Have we become that anal in the smartphone world to where its that big a deal???

nice review :-)!

re: auto focus vs continuous focus
I would have to try it out to decide
what I think about it

well KEVIN i demand you tell us the secret about the no autofocus camera now!
pretty please!!!!!!!!

Folks, I'm having a *very* difficult time choosing between Torch2 (9810) for its bigger screen, or Bold 9900 for its compact form factor and better keyboard...

Maybe I'll get BOTH!

I'd go withe Bold.. i have Torch currently but i can sacrifice a little Screen real estate for that keyboard. I feel like upgrading from Torch to Torch 2 isn't justifiable. It's identical.

Autofocus secret is if they had put it in this phone it would have actually been the perfect BB. Making the perfect BB would slow future QNX sales. Give us enough to make us happy but keep us coming back :)

I can't wait to get my hands on this bad boy! My torch wants to take a vacation from all my abuse hahahaha. The bold really gives the impression it can get things done as a communication device and asserts what we love about our Blackberries. Can't wait! Can't wait!

Hi, does OS 7 still offer the adjustable fonts in Options>Screen/Keyboard? Do you still get up to 14 point ExtraBold? I'm lusting if so lol. I'm fighting for BB for this very reason. That 9900 looks so sweet, and I don't think my little Curve 8530 looks all that bad, but a 5mp camera with flash could be nice.

I've never wanted a phone so bad lol LUST OUT! 3 of my best friends are all switching back to Blackberry after our brief Android tangent. I will happily ditch the Evo cuz i still can't type worth a shit after almost a year on that thing and after trying at least 6 or7 different keyboards. half of my texts are misspelled, and my facebook posts look like I'm drunk all the time. I miss the perfect autocorrection on Blackberry

just wondering if anybody knows if there is any difference in switching bb devices from bb os6 (torch) to a new bb bold 9930 w/ os7? Can i still just use bb desktop manager to do that and switch all my info and options/ settings? just wondering thanks guys

Great rundown on the 9900. I've had mine since yesterday and am loving it.

I don't believe the plastic piece surrounding the charging terminals have anything to do with the antenna, but is there to prevent a short circuit between the positive and negative charging terminals. Steel is electrically conductive, but plastic makes for a good insulator.

I am very disapointed about the missing autofocus on the 9900. I make a lot of document pictures with my current 9780, I cannot switch to the 9900. RIM, what have you done? Such a huge degradation of this perfect phone! Why??

Me too. Upgrading to this phone should have been a no-brainer for someone with a two year old 9700.

Poorly focused photos and the need to carry a spare battery is making me think twice.

I guess we can finally put
all the doom and gloom mess behind us RIM isn't going anywhere ..........long live the king.......

Business Camera?

I work as a custom framer. My BlackBerry Storm2 comes in handy on a daily basis because I can quickly take a photograph of a sample design and email it to a client, but the lack of autofocus makes me nervous. I was ready to go back to the Bold's form-factor, but all this talk about the camera is making me think twice. I guess I'm going to have to get my hands on one before I buy it to see if its going to meet my needs. I was very excited about upgrading to the new BBs, but I'm left pondering other devices with 4G, hotspot, and 8mp cameras yet again.... *sigh*

deke09, The Torch2 still has that in-focus camera from what I gather, so perhaps this would be viable for you?

I also WANT an in-focus camera, and not what is on Bold 9900 (always-in-focus camera does not work, I also take photos of documents)

The Torch may very well be my next device. It will be interesting to see what's its capable of. Devices with 4G and hotspot are awfully tempting. I tried the Samsung Charge and returned it because it wasn't a BlackBerry, but I've been told I should be more open-minded when it comes to technology these days. We'll see...

wtf im so upset...kevin you mean to tell me no auto focus and lower room for apps!!!.. this sucks!!! theres 3 things RIM needs to do to gain popularity again with this bold. its plain n simple. 1. a front camera for video chat 2. lots of space for apps! 3. an auto focus camera!! 4. 4G ,along with what it already has. i am so disappointed with RIM. they def. are falling way behind on everything and i am now thinking of leaving my beloved berry.

I love Crackberry.com and what you guys do here. Unfortunately, this review makes you guys look like you are in the bag for Blackberry. I run NJ's largest camera store and Sony was just in showing us a new and improved version of their Alpha series cameras which first launched last November.

*Every feature of the new cameras is either equal to or improved over the previous versions*

How can you be so thrilled with a flagship Blackberry that takes a step backwards with battery life and the camera? Ask 100 users if these 2 features are in their top 5 most important features of a smart phone. Furthermore you glossed over the fact this new O/S 7 is on the way out. What about the tiny amount of free memory? Is that acceptable in 2011? Why should new adopters buy this phone?

Please re-examine your objectivity.

This new phone is a disaster for a Blackberry. You should have called them on it.

Careful, no one here wants to actually hear the truth about Blackberry - they prefer to remain ignorant of the problems and will turn everything negative into a positive, i.e., the people who think that Sprint cancelling carrying the Playbook is the best thing to happen to the Playbook.

PS - dont forget to mention that hotspot capabilities hasn't been released yet and anyone purchasing the phone will have to wait until an update sometime in the future (we all know what that means) occurs.

Not feeling the love for the 9900 yet from software developers. The Weather Network's Weather Eye is a mess, no good themes yet, CrackBerry's own SuperStore App is incompatible, along with a bunch of my previous programs from App World. Love my new BlackBerry but feel I'm being held back from having too much fun.

If it had a front facing camera, I would switch back in a heart beat. I guess I will wait for the next update.

awesome lets post some stupid stuff like this because there is nothing really interesting to post about the operating system