BlackBerry's long journey down the comeback trail continues apace. The venerable smartphone brand was all but written off a year ago, after the company responded to the upset of the iPhone with more-of-the-same products that cost them lots of market share.

The company responded, belatedly, by targeting the tablet market, releasing its PlayBook - to possibly-unfair iffy reviews - last month. Now, it's finally bringing some much-needed updates to its phone line.

The new BlackBerry Bold 9900 has just been shown off at the BlackBerry World developer's conference, and it's a beaut. Amazingly, this is the very first phone BlackBerry makers RIM have made which combines the BlackBerry's famous landscape-screen-&-keyboard design with a touch screen.

How it's taken them so long we don't know. The company's first response to the iPhone was the full-touch-screen based Storm, which threw away the one big advantage BlackBerry has, the keyboard. Last year's Torch brought back the keyboard, and employed a slide-down design which also allowed it to have a nice big screen. But it was woefully underpowered and its software was outdated and horrible.

The Bold 9900 fixes many of these problems. It's packing a 1.2GHz CPU, giving it more punch than the iPhone 4, and 768MB of RAM. And it's running BlackBerry 7 OS, which will hopefully be a much bigger leap forward than last year's disappointing version 6.

All in all, we think this might - might - be the phone that helps BlackBerry get its groove back. Engadget has a video, if you're interested, and we'll bring you pricing and network details when we have them.

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