Sprint has just announced the two most powerful Blackberry phones ever, including the Torch 9850 which has a 3.7 inch full touch screen — the biggest ever to adorn a Blackberry handset.

The other phone, the Blackberry Bold 9930, is similar in specifications to the already announced Blackberry Bold 9900 and has a 2.8 inch touchscreen, giving it the distinction of having both the largest display and the largest keypad on any candy-bar shaped Blackberry phone ever.

The two represent the latest and greatest in the full-touch oriented ‘Torch’ line-up and the traditional candy-bar shaped qwerty form-factors. RIM also unveiled a hybrid touch-cum-slider-qwerty model, but not for Sprint.

The three phones, yet to be launched, are powered by single-core 1.2 GHz processors and come with a separate graphics processors to handle the demands of its new ‘liquid graphics’ technology. The three models (and two sub-models) represent the first five Blackberry phones to sport the Blackberry OS 7, the next version of RIM’s operating system.

Both Sprint models have 5 megapixel cameras and will run on Sprint’s 3G network.

“BlackBerry 7 introduces a next-generation BlackBerry browser with a significantly faster, more fluid web browsing experience that is up to 40 percent faster than BlackBerry 6 based smartphones and up to 100 percent faster than BlackBerry 5 based smartphones1,” Sprint said.

“BlackBerry Bold 9930 and BlackBerry Torch 9850 use the Sprint 3G Network domestically and offer World Phone capability for international travel to nearly anywhere in the world. Sprint customers have the power to make or receive phone calls in more than 185 countries and access to BlackBerry® data services, including email, apps and web browsing in nearly 150 countries. Customers also have the option of using a third-party SIM for international voice and data services,” it added.

The prices will be announced “closer to launch,” Sprint said.

In addition to the candy-bar and full-touch (no qwerty) models above, it also announced a third model which would be halfway between the two — the Blackberry 9810. Unlike the above two, this one will have a display that is of intermediate size (3.2 inch), but will also have a vertically sliding physical keypad. Most of the other features — 1.2 GHz processor, Blackberry 7 OS, 5 Megapixel camera etc.. — are the same as the other two models.

The hybrid phone model, however, has not been announced by Sprint, but may turn up on AT&T.

The three phones are part of RIM’s desperate attempt to maintain its marketshare in an increasingly hostile smart-phone market.

Having more or less ignored two large trends in the smart-phone market for a long time — big touch-screen displays and funky graphics — RIM is trying desperately to muscle back into the reckoning.

For example, both the new phones have extra-ordinarily big displays compared to other Blackberry phones, or even those of comparable models from competitors like Nokia. Against the usual 2.4 to 2.6 inch displays on candy-bar phones, the 9930 has a 2.8 inch one.

The 3.7 inch display is bigger than most phones available in the market today including the iPhone (3.5 inch) and is second only to the biggest displays on phones, such as the 4.3 inch screens on Samsung Galaxy S2.


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