T-Mobile BlackBerry Bold 9700 Glimpsed in the Wild!

By Kevin Michaluk on 10 Aug 2009 07:18 pm EDT
T-Mobile BlackBerry 9700

Seriously, I need to travel more often. It wasn't so long ago that the 'javelin' (Curve 8900) was still unavailable that I spotted three in the same airport while flying to NYC. This time around while traveling home from vacation I was able to spot and get a few precious moments of hands-on time with the device above (single capture taken on my Verizon Tour) ... of a T-Mobile BlackBerry Bold 9700.

Wow, what a device. I've already reviewed the BlackBerry "onyx" (9020 device model at the time, now the BlackBerry Bold 9700) and basically concluded it was the ultimate "traditional" BlackBerry. Compared to the unit in that initial review, this one has a trackpad (vs. trackball), more of a silver chrome vs. charcoal (could be that AT&T will get the charcoal version) and the leather back on the battery door that we've previously featured on the blogs. It also felt different in the hand compared to my early model - this unit felt very sturdy (production ready?!). Couple that feeling with the T-Mobile branding and let's hope this baby is due sooner than later.

So for all the T-Mobile customers out there who didn't rush out to buy the Curve 8520, how do you feel about the BlackBerry Bold 9700?? Finally visual proof of a 3G BlackBerry on T-Mobile!! Big thanks to the BlackBerry Gods for being so good!

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

T-Mobile BlackBerry Bold 9700 Glimpsed in the Wild!


it's about time T-Mo stepped up to the plate with 3G...you're only 3 years late! LMAO!

If AT&T gets the charcoal housing, that'd be sweet. I personally don't like the silver/chrome housing on the Bold or the T-Mo Onyx.

Other than that...that trackpad is looking tasty!

I'm so happy if this is true I haven't bought new blackberry yet cause I'm waiting on a 3G one. I hope they let the keyboard be like the Curve 8320 I have now. I love the way it feels.

How did you spot this phone in a crowded airport?? And who had the phone?? Was it a tester or something??

My (gu)estimation, Kevin knows the folks who get to test these units or he himself is one of the fortunate that gets to test them and he is given embargo reporting rights. If nothing else, RIMM respects Kevin and Crackberry why not give him a test unit then let him build a story around it such as "look what seen at the airport!"

Think about it, Kevin is usually on the money about features and release dates. So is BGR, because they know people at RIMM or if nothing else, they do have a good relationship with the company.

I'm jealous can't you tell?

I am totally drooling over this thing and cursing myself for being so quick to re-sign my AT&T contract!

Is this the first Blackberry with BOTH 3G and wi-fi? At least in terms of AT&T and Verizon, I think so...

Between both of those options and the new trackpad... As I said in the subject: drooooool

bold 9000 on att has both 3g and wifi... itll be the first blackberry on tmo to have 3g and wifi
what phone did u upgrade too? the 8900??

There's lots more room for a bigger screen on this thing (LOTS of un-used black), makes me think that its gonna be the same "shell" as a different phone.

yes really. i've been told by a t-mobile engineer that no one has perfected the 3G to UMA hand-off, so it is a no go.

I was going to buy a T-Mobile 8900, but if this is for T-Mobile USA (not T-Mobile UK or DE or another T-Mobile) then I will be waiting... fer sure. zomg.

just got my wife an 8520 and love her trackpad, I think this would be the device to make me put my 8900 down!

Undoubtedly this is a hot looking phone, but RIM's piecemeal approach to innovation is really starting to get me angry. The trackpad rocks by the way, but Wi-Fi and 3G shouldn't have been such a no-no for previous devices anyways. Let's see some risks baby, push out that touch-screen BlackBerry with a full QWERTY we know you're working on.

All the new blackberrys (8520, storm 2, onyx) appear to have the upside down send key, must be a new thing for blackberrys...

wow. i cant believe tmo did something right. lets hope its tmo usa cuz i dont think i could stand the heartbreak if it doesnt come to the states

Now that we just got 3G in Jacksonville, this is a no-brainer. I can upgrade next week, so as soon as it's available, I'm in.

Yes Yes and Yes!!!!

I am so on this phone the 1st day it comes out. It is soooo overdue by t-mobile.
Can we get a date??

PLEASE tell me this was a U.S. T-Mobile handset!!!!!! I have been waiting since they launched their 3G service in the NY market (their first 3G market) and now FINALLY there is evidence that a 3G blackberry is more than just a dream.

And while I would LOVE to have a combo touchscreen and full qwerty keyboard, I'll be happy to jump on the 9700 the day it's available! I've been living with my very solid (but extremely slow) 8800 BB since it first came out and I'm way overdue for a new device.

i would love to know what your express was kevin. i know if i saw an unreleased blackberry i'd flip like a little school girl running into zac efron

Hey, when I approach people, that I don't know, at airports, train stations, restaurants, movies, etc, they always give me weird looks and run away from me when I ask to play with their Blackberry... How do you approach someone that you don't know and ask them if you can touch their berry?! Do you whip out a business card and they know who you are?

Wow! I'm glad I'm on T-Mobile, now I have a device to fawn over for a year come my upgrade time. I seriously considered bounching back to VZW for the Tour, because of the lack of 3G, but now, there is hope!! To quote Kevin:

"...thanks to the BlackBerry Gods for being so good!"

Amen to that!

P.S.: The leather door is shmexay! Go BB and Mighty Magenta!

This is a T-Mobile USA phone, you can tell by the dots on the "T" T-Mobile USA begins with one dot, T-Mobile in other countries begins with 3 dots.

Oh well, my trusty Bold is going to have to carry me through the next couple of months.

It's like the faithful wife who has stuck with you through everything and while still attractive, you cannot help but look at or want the sexy new neighbor :)

Though I don't know why they are doing this titanium/chrome on different carriers thing. Why not keep the design the same.

I will definitely be thinking about selling my 8900 for this, as long as it still has wifi and all other features of the 8900...

I'm ecstatic...T-Mobile is pretty good at keeping their phones under wraps so I guess we just wait for clearance from the FCC. Keeping my fingers crossed for a September release??

How credible are the rumors about UMA problems? This is one of the key features for me given poor reception at my house.

Has anyone noticed that the CDMA people always start clamouring for the GSM phones. Yet very few GSM users clamour for a CDMA phone on GSM.

Im lucky in that I dont have to put up with this GSM/CDMA rubbish as I live in the civilised world of one standard for all phones (ducks for cover).

It's about time! I feel like T-mobile is the b@stard child of the US mobile phone providers. They have been the slowest to roll out their 3G and they cater to the Android, and Sidekick users more than anyone else. Go into any Tmobile store and see that the amount of accessories for the sidekick or G1 are at least 3 to 1 versus any other phone, and in particular the Blackberry. If it weren't for their excellent customer service or low prices I would have left for AT&T last September when the Bold came out. Anyway, looks like I won't have to.

OMG OMG OMG!! I have been waiting for this news since May 10th (the day that this piece of information hit the internet)!!! Finally it is all piecing together ever so nicely! I have to say that I like chrome better than the charcoal one.

YAY!!! AWESOME!! SO EXCITED! I'm getting this as soon as it arrives!!! :D


I was in a tmo store over the weekend trying to see the shiny new MyTouch and was so cheesed off at totally being ignored that I was on my way to AT&T to check corp pricing on iPhones.

And then, up pops the 9700. On tmobile. The people I am trying to dislike. Cause I want an iPhone. Sigh.

Does this mean the magnum/Pluto will be out this year as well? dying to see a touchscreen Berry on T-mobile.

It's about time T-Mobile came out with a 3G BlackBerry, funny too how i just switched from T-Mobile to Verizon. Will this phone ever come to Verizon?

Several comments here claim that the Driftwood won't have UMA because they haven't figured out UMA-3G transitions. However, there are several T-Mobile phones that have UMA and 3G already. Inquiring minds want to know.

am i the only one that is not a fan of the optic touch pad? I like the feel of the trackball, it just takes away from the phone not having the ball.

"am i the only one that is not a fan of the optic touch pad? ..."

-- Yeah, pretty much.

"... I like the feel of the trackball, it just takes away from the phone not having the ball."

-- Perhaps you should buy one of those mini-trackball keyboard attachments for your PC as well!

It's getting more real!

Leather, no thx. Silver no thx - but I must say, it looks like ACTUAL METAL unlike the crappy Bold bezel!!!!

Gimmie a GSM version!!

Don't really like the phone. It's a cheap version of the Blackberry Curve 8900 in my opinion. The 8900 is only $20 more at T-Mobile so why not get the better phone? Plus I think it looks cheap and prefer the trackball.

"The 8900 is only $20 more at T-Mobile so why not get the better phone?" What the hell does that mean??? Twenty dollars more than what??? This phone is an upgrade from the 8900 (of which I have) in every way. Better radios, better keyboard. Trackball, known to have mechanical issues has now been done away with. Upgraded to the optical trackpad. You know how you went from just a mouse (with a rollerball) to an optical mouse. No mechanical issues....gone, toast. It'll be 2010 very soon and technology's moving forward, don't be a putz. It's probably sporting a 5.0 OS too. You have lost your mind!!!

It looks waaaaaaay better with red number keys and an atomic trackball...just my opinion but you know. Also the dark chrome looks better than that silvery stuff.

I don't think they are that smart to put UMA on this. So far RIM does the give and take move. Give this and take that. It is kinda pissing me off. The day RIM builds a device that has everything we want in it and more, I will run around the block naked with a blonde wig on.

whats the difference between this and the tour minus the trackpad?

I know the processor might end up being faster, but the final product revision looks identical to the tour form factor now

I can't wait. i was considering the 8520 being an add on, but with this pic, I will hold out until the Driftwood is available. We finally have a 3G enabled berry...I'm patiently waiting...

this will be my next phone. a nice upgrade from a 8310 indeed. I'm eager to get a phone with more horsepower, WiFi, 3G and GPS all in one. Not to mention more internal memory to boot!

Does anyone have any hard facts about the BlackBerry 9020 being actually renamed to 9700? Could this be a different device? It's quite possible. Only time will tell.

FINALLY a 3G BB for T-Mobile!!! Hopefully this drops around the time my upgrade is available which is in 11 months!!! :(

I'm getting my TP2 this week can't wait! Def will get this when it drops!

I've been wasting away in one of the earliest T-Mobile 3G areas with nothing decent to use it on.UMA,no UMA,I don't care.Rumours of this device were the only thing keeping me from leaving T-Mobile.

Honestly, as nice as a 3G BB sounds on T-Mobile (I was about to spring for the 8900 but am waiting to see what happens), that nasty faux leather back is something that will ruin the entire thing for me and I'll either just get the 8900 still or re-consider the iPhone 3G S. I really hope RIM nixes that idea before it gets a formal release.

I hope you're right...I really need UMA given poor signal at home, and I've been waiting for 3G since they launched in NY over a year ago!

Anyone have any update on when TMO will launch the 9700?

I held off on these phones hoping that this would happen....and it did !!

Thank GOD because i was about to pick up a Mytouch at the T-Moible store.....i would have been so pissed off if i did that....so pissed off.

I love my Javelin but I've already discussed this with my wife. She will be getting my "blacked out" little baby and I will use my upgrade to purchase this device. Will I miss UMA?? Definitely!! The caveat however, will be if 3G actually exists in my city by September. I have no idea as we speak if we do or not. She is growing tired of her 8320 and since I keep this one in pristine shape, it will be a new phone to HER. Good job T-Mo and thanks RIM because on the serious tip, I was eyeballin' ANDROID. HARD!! I love the OS on those devices...

I have the trusty BB 8320. It has been very good but, I can't wait to upgrade the that sweet 9700! 3G and much more speed! I am going to pass the 8320 on to someone who wants a BB. All I am waiting on is the release date so I can stop licking my chops!

The logo looks off. I'm not saying TMO didn't change things up, but the logo on this phone looks different (color, size, and alignment) from all the other logos on my past TMO phones. Then again, I haven't bought a TMO phone since the summer of 2007, so I digress.

this phone is awsome, but i will wait on the odin xD i am dieing for a touch screen and the odin will be the best choice :D

I saw this in a mag and immediately thought " I want it!"
I've had my curve ( 8320) for almost two yrs now, its time to upgrade.
I really hope Tmobile gets it SOON and in some cool colors!!

I was told by a T-Mobile salesperson that a Blackberry with Touchscreen and Keyboard will be out by the end of the year.

I just ordered my Blackberry 9700. The T-Mobile lady on the phone, Corrine (sounded very cute) stated the official release date for T-Mobile in the Federal States of America is NOVEMBER 16. Only a few days left.

ATT and T-Mobile just don't have the coverage and quality service that Sprint and VZ offer. However, they do have the capital to get licensing from RIM to get this phone.

What a waste.