Research In Motion (RIM) made two major decisions on 15 November 2011. The first, is to do a major global launch and announcement of not one, but two, smartphones in Jakarta, Indonesia (which is an indication of how important this region is to RIM), and the second is to have co-CEO of RIM, Jim Balsillie, officiate and welcome media and partners from not just Indonesia, but Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The third, but perhaps more aggressive indication of RIM's seriousness with the market, is the launch event of one of the two phones -- the Bold 9790 -- in the south lobby of the Pacific Place Shopping Mall in Jakarta on 25 November 2011. According to Rohilesh Singh, Country Director, RIM Indonesia, the first 1000 lucky Bold 9790 buyers at the launch will get it at 50% off. The official price is estimated to be 4,500,000 rupiah.
Anyway, RIM announced two new smartphones based on the BlackBerry 7 operating system (OS) -- the BlackBerry Bold 9790 and BlackBerry Curve 9380. While anticipation has been high as a follow-up to the announcement in its recent Developers Conference that RIM will eventually introduce future smartphones based on the new BBX operating system, the same architecture seen on the PlayBook tablet, the new Bold and Curve devices are more like aesthetic design and OS-enhanced updates to the current generation of the Bold 9700 series and Curve 9300 series.
The new smartphones are fantastically slim and stylish, with the Bold 9790 following the Bold 9900's dual benefits of a high resolution touch display and much loved QWERTY keyboard. The Curve 9380, however, ups the ante somewhat by being the first-ever BlackBerry Curve with a full touch display.
Not only that, RIM is also reaching out and addressing the needs of their ecosystem of consumers, carriers and developers via concept BlackBerry Stores, the first being opened in Siam Paragon, Bangkok. The second, to be opened tomorrow in downtown Jakarta, will follow through on this promise.
Here's a quick snapshot of the Jakarta launch and some highlights from the event, including specs and some choice quotes from one of our counterparts based in Jakarta.
According to Mr. Martin Wijaya, Chief Editor of HWM Indonesia (our regional sister tech magazine), who has attended numerous RIM launch events in Indonesia, this is RIM's best launch to date. "The attention to detail and the global-to-local customization of the whole setting at the event make it so different from their previous events. For example, the red batik motif on stage, the prints on the stage pennants and on the retail boxes of the Bold 9790, has indications of the RIM logo within it."
"As for the two new smartphones, the Bold 9790 maximized on the real estate of the QWERTY keyboard. They tried to maximize on the screen by using the curved bezel, which makes the screen look fuller. The feel of the keyboard still has the legendary feel of what we've come to love from the keyboards from the Bold series. As for the Curve 9380, the full screen touch feature is quite a diversion from the normal course since the Curve series has never featured a full touch screen. The hardware for the Curve is a 1GHz processor, so it's not a low-end spec device even though it's from the Curve family."
Expect a thorough review of the devices when they become available. We expect the BlackBerry Bold 9790 to reach Singapore shores by December of this year. We will share the availability schedule of the Curve 9380 when it's made available to us. No specific pricing details for Singapore has been announced as yet.
As an added bonus, we've also had the opportunity to meet and interview Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of RIM and Gregory Wade, Regional Managing Director, East Asia, RIM. Here, the video interview explains some of the strategies RIM will be emphasizing on in terms of its Asia launches or events, as well as the ecosystem it aims to pursue with the introduction of its BlackBerry Stores (Thailand and Indonesia).