RIM Unveils Blackberry Torch 9800; Mixed Sentiments Overflow the Blogosphere
On August 3rd, 2010, the world of BlackBerry changed forever. OK, OK– maybe not. But, we were formally introduced to BlackBerry’s latest device, the Torch 9800, as well as the company’s latest operating system, BlackBerry OS6. Keep reading past the break to learn more.
In a small, rather exclusive event, hosted by RIM, the world was introduced to the the Blackberry 9800, more commonly known (if known at all) as the Torch. And although TechTrackr wasn’t able to attend the event, we’ve been rummaging through news source after news source to offer you our comprehensive recap of today’s unveiling.
Now, be forewarned: I’m personally very excited about the device. At the same time, our Editor-In-Chief, Matt, who has been using a BlackBerry for circa four or five years now, is very disappointed. Basically, BlackBerry fans are divided. What say you? Be sure to share your comments at the end, once you’ve familiarized yourself with the new hardware and software.
Let’s get a few things out of the way: the Torch is a BlackBerry in more ways than one. First, the 9800 includes a 3.2″ 360 x 480 capacitive touch screen display– personally, I’m not sure why RIM decided to use this archaic, low-res screen; I would have preferred something that would make my beloved BBMs look a little more crisp. Moving on, the top actually slides forward to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard– something I’m especially fond of.
The phone will also include the famous Trackpad, which replaced the Trackball (thank you RIM), 512 MB of Flash memory, and 4 GB built-in memory storage plus a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 32 GB cards.RIM has been kind enough to include a 4GB memory card, giving users 8 GB of memory out-of-the-box… pretty decent. The Torch will also pack a five megapixel camera, WiFi capability, and BlackBerry OS 6, which sweetens the deal even more.
Now, I’m kind of jealous that the boys over at CrackBerry had the chance to play around with the device. Feast your eyes on their lengthy hands-on video below:
Starting August 12th, the Torch will be available in the States via AT&T for $199 on a new two-year contract; we’re still waiting on word whether or not the phone will air on any other U.S. carriers. Typically, GSM BlackBerries hit T-Mobile first so this is definitely interesting.
If you live in Canada, where Research in Motion is based, you’re in luck as the Torch will be available on each and every network of Canada’s Big Four: Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Virgin Mobile.
Now, a number of major tech sites (Gizmodo for one) have expressed their discontent with the 9800. Some have even gone so far to say that this release could mean the end for BlackBerry as a company and as a competitor in the smartphone industry. I flat out disagree. OK, so it wasn’t as ground-breaking as a lot of us were hoping for, but, nonetheless I’m really excited.
In the ensuing weeks, we’ll be sure to get some hands-on time of our own and continue to share the news as it happens. As always, be sure to stick with TechTrackr.com for the latest and greatest technology stories.
For more information, see the Press Release below:
Today, Research In Motion (RIM) launched the BlackBerry Torch 9800 – RIM’s first slider smartphone. This premium new smartphone features a capacitive touch screen, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and the new BlackBerry 6 operating system, which includes a powerful WebKit browser. With the legendary BlackBerry keyboard you love accompanying a large touch screen, users now have the best of both worlds – a refined smartphone designed for the heart and the head. And with BlackBerry 6, graphical menus, intuitive navigation and universal search make the BlackBerry user experience the most dynamic ever!
Key BlackBerry Torch features include:
· Brand new form factor – Touch/QWERTY combination smartphone
· BlackBerry 6 – Featuring:
o Context-sensitive pop-up menus for more relevant options
o A new WebKit browser for faster and more robust performance
o Integrated social feeds including the ability to update multiple social networks from a single screen
o Engaging multimedia experience
o Universal Search to uncover results throughout your smartphone – from Contacts, Apps, data and the Web
· Sleek design with a touch-sensitive trackpad located on the front face of the device
· The first BlackBerry smartphone to include the new BlackBerry App World pre-installed, supporting carrier billing through AT&T, making it easier for customers to discover and purchase applications
· 3.2″ 360 x 480 capacitive touch screen display
· Vivid 5.0MP camera with flash, auto focus, image stabilization and geo-tagging
· Support for 3G networks (HSDPA)
· 512MB Flash memory, 4GB on?board memory, microSD/SDHC memory card slot (4GB card included, cards up to 32GB supported)
· Built?in GPS and Wi?Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
· Network Support
o GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
o HSPDA/UMTS: 800/850/1900/2100 MHz
· Approximately 4.4″ x 2.4″ x 0.57″ (closed), 5.8″ x 2.4″ x 0.57″ (open)
In the U.S, the BlackBerry Torch will be available for AT&T customers on August 12 in AT&T company owned retail stores, online at www.att.com/blackberrytorch, and at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and RadioShack stores. The smartphone will be available for $199.99 with 2-year service agreement on a qualifying rate plan and data plan required. For more information about the BlackBerry Torch, please see the full press release at http://press.rim.com/release.jsp?id=4238.
For more details on BlackBerry 6, please watch the BlackBerry 6 YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plWOkI_Urwo and visit http://press.rim.com/release.jsp?id=4237. Images of the BlackBerry Torch will be posted shortly at http://www.rim.com/newsroom/media/gallery/.
Article posted by: Eric Zwilling
Bio: Eric, a "closet nerd," loves all different kinds of tech, but is particularly knowledgeable when it comes to smart phones and gaming devices. Eric’s looking forward to seeing the world change as a result of these technological advancements. Eric also enjoys playing sports (lacrosse is his favorite) and test driving cars. He acknowledges his extremely radical opinions and he extends his sincerest apologies if he bashes your favorite gadget.
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