The BlackBerry Bold 9900 featured many firsts including a touch screen and support for NFC (Near Field Communications). At its launch it was described as the “thinnest and most powerful BlackBerry smartphone yet”.
The Bold 9900 drew a lot of its design DNA from the hugely successful Bold 9000
whose intricately designed, well-spaced QWERTY keyboard was much liked. The keyboard on the 9900 was considered to be the best the company had ever made at the time.
A lot of attention was paid to the materials used for this device. The 9900 was 10.5mm thick and had what was described as a “lustrous exterior” with a brushed stainless steel frame and glossy glass fibre backplate.
This was the first time BlackBerry had used a metal finish on the exterior of a device and it made the 9900 feel much more of a quality product compared to previous BlackBerry devices. This was essential given the metal and glass finish on the iPhone and other rival products.
At this time, the smartphone market had become significantly more competitive. BlackBerry had lost a lot of market share with ascendence of Apple’s iPhone and an avalanche of Android devices. Because of this, BlackBerry focused heavily on emphasising the “performance-driven” characteristics of the 9900.
A lot of this was centred on the “Liquid Graphics” touch screen which was made possible by the BlackBerry 7 OS (an evolution of previous operating systems) which it claimed delivered “fast, smooth performance for highly responsive touch-based navigation, web browsing, pictures, video and graphics intensive games.”
Despite these claims, the 9900 unfortunately suffered from some software issues, one of which resulted in it refusing to turn on. In some cases, the company had to completely replace the faulty devices.
There was also a CDMA variant of this device known as the BlackBerry Bold 9930.
Looking back, the Bold 9900 is fondly remembered by BlackBerry enthusiasts as one of the best devices the company made.