Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Dec 29 2011, 09:13am hrs
The smartphone category in India is at a very exciting phase and has become more exciting for the Canadian device maker of BlackBerry fame, Research In Motion (RIM). Starting in India as an enterprise-focused company, RIM seems to have realised the potential of consumer market and the need for people at large to be connected even outside their professional lives. BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has become a great hit among the youth in the subcontinent. With increasing ferocity, RIM has introduced new smartphones in both CDMA and GSM platform with diverse features, functionalities and form factor to suit the consumer needs across categories.

In a double-impact launch this month, RIM has introduced two new BlackBerry smartphones in India. The R27,940-a-piece BlackBerry Bold 9790 combines the iconic BlackBerry keyboard with a high resolution touch display in a slim and narrow design. And the R20,990 BlackBerry Curve 9380 is the first-ever Curve smartphone with an all-touch display. Gadget watchers are quick to recall the runaway success of the BlackBerry Curve 8520 here; the device was especially designed keeping the price sensitive Indian market in mind and today it is one of the most popular smartphones, widely used and preferred by the connected youth and other consumers.

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 and BlackBerry Curve 9380 that I reviewed offer impressively slim and stylish designs with enhanced communications, multimedia, productivity and social connectivity features. Both the devices are powered by the next-generation BlackBerry OS 7. The new operating system incorporates newest features and enhancements such as the next generation Liquid Graphics performance, 40% faster Web browsing than OS 6, along with breakthrough technologies such as augmented reality and near field communication (NFC), allowing users to connect with the world around them in fresh new ways.

With augmented reality, users can use the Wikitude application to find nearby BBM contacts in real-time, read reviews on restaurants close to them, or get the story behind an interesting landmark or points of interest. NFC also enables many new and exciting capabilities, including the ability to pair accessories or read SmartPoster tags with a simple tap of the smartphone. The new OS also includes the ability to manage personal content separately from corporate content, and comes with a variety of personal and productivity apps out of the box.

It is pertinent to scrutinise the two devices individually. True to the BlackBerry Bold brand, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone is powerful, full-featured and built with premium materials and finishes. It combines a high-resolution and highly responsive touch display with a highly tactile keyboard and a precise optical trackpad, but comes in a narrow design that is easy to carry and exceptionally comfortable to hold. It measures 110 x 60 x 11.4 mm (HxWxD) and weighs a mere 107 grams. With a powerful 1 GHz processor, the Bold 9790 delivers fast, smooth performance for highly responsive touch-based navigation, Web browsing, multimedia and document management. It

includes 8 GB on-board memory and an expandable memory card slot that supports up to 32 GB of additional storage.

On the other hand, the beautifully crafted BlackBerry Curve 9380 is the first all-touch smartphone in the BlackBerry Curve family. At first look, it is a slim, stylish and simply beautiful smartphone. Not only that, the device is easy-to-use, featuring a brilliant 3.2-inch high resolution all-touch display, intuitive virtual keyboard and optical trackpad.

Nowadays, BlackBerry devices come loaded with applications that cater to wide range of interest areas such cooking, fashion, health, news, sports, games, business and many others. The BlackBerry Curve 9380 comes with pre-installed social networking applications such as BBM, Facebook, Twitter, and Social Feeds which are deeply integrated within the BlackBerry Curve smartphone experience. The handsets 5MP camera with flash and video recording allows users to easily capture and share their favourite moments. The Curve 9380 comes with a powerful processor and super fast browser; put simply, it has what you need to keep up.

My verdict: the two devices are true multimedia marvels where your photos, videos, games and apps come to life in incredible detail on the large touchscreens. RIM appears to have hit the the right chord with the diverse set of consumers here.