New RIM handset good, not revolutionary -analyst

TORONTO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Research In Motion's RIM.TORIMM.O powerful new BlackBerry Bold is a "strong product", but it isn't revolutionary, according to an analyst who reviewed the smartphone ahead of its North American launch.

Citi Investment Research analyst Jim Suva wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday that he has tested numerous features of the device, including its Web browsing, GPS, e-mail, video and music capabilities.

The Bold is the first BlackBerry to support next-generation high-speed HSDPA cellular networks and comes with integrated Wi-Fi and a host of multimedia features.

Suva wrote that its completely new browser is a “big improvement” from the earlier Curve and Pearl models of the BlackBerry. As well, the phone’s display is noticeably better, Suva said after watching the comedy film “Talladega Nights” on it.

However, he said there were a few occasional high-speed signal-dropping problems, especially on streets with tall buildings. The handset’s EDGE network capability immediately picked up the signal, but at slower Internet speeds, Suva said.

The Bold is set to debut on carrier Rogers Communications Inc RCIb.TO in Canada on Thursday. However, AT&T T.N -- the handset's lead carrier in the United States -- has yet to announce when it will launch the device. It is already available in parts of Europe.

Suva said that overall, the Bold is a “strong product but not a complete game changer”.

He added the device will appeal to business users -- especially those who travel internationally -- “but less so to consumers given its likely high price.”

Jim Balsillie, the co-chief executive of Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, told Reuters in May that the handset will cost between $300 and $400.

RIM’s volatile shares were up 3.8 percent at C$138.78 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.

$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Peter Galloway