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BlackBerry Torch official, hits AT&T August 12

updated 11:20 am EDT, Tue August 3, 2010

BlackBerry Torch launches as RIM's best hope

As expected, RIM at its still live event today launched the BlackBerry Torch. Also known as the 9800, it's the first BlackBerry to combine a touchscreen with a hardware QWERTY keyboard and still has an optical trackpad. It's likewise the first phone to use BlackBerry 6, a major overhaul of the mobile OS that brings a fast WebKit browser, integrated social feeds from Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, and multi-touch input.

The new OS also enables syncing music over Wi-Fi rather than just using the Media Sync conduit app with iTunes or Windows Media Player. Messaging fans are served by a new version of BlackBerry Messenger that supports up to 10 simultaneous people and locations. The phone is the first BlackBerry to finally have App World already pre-installed, catching up with access to a built-in store much like Android and iPhone devices have had since 2008. Previous models had to download the app afterwards.

The phone is a mild upgrade in some areas with a five-megapixel camera, 802.11n Wi-Fi and 8GB of built-in storage across both built-in memory and a bundled microSD card. The SurePress click-down screen criticized by some has disappeared in favor of a more conventional surface.

RIM ships the Torch on August 12 to AT&T, which will have a US exclusive on the smartphone and is already taking registrations of interest. It should cost $200 on contract.

The Torch is increasingly considered a make-or-break device for RIM, which has been losing share for the first time in years as the iPhone and especially Android have eaten away at its once secure place. An aging OS and a lack of truly advanced touchscreen devices has led many to say they won't opt for a BlackBerry again as Apple, HTC and Motorola have been making more compelling hardware.

By Electronista Staff


  1. tonewheel

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: May 1999



    "....integrated social feeds from Facebook, MySpace and Twitter."

    And all the other important business applications.

  1. starwarrior

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2006


    Teeny Weeny Keyboard

    Otherwise big and clunky.

  1. solefald

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2008



    I guess this is what the road to irrelevance looks like...

  1. facebook_Thomas

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2010


    Looks like a squared off palm pre

    And that keyboard won't work well in landscape which is usually how hardware keyboard people like to type. What I find funny is that not one other vendor has figures out why Apple makes the iPhone a universal shape top and bottom. It for better landscape use and gaming.

    Sure othes have the big screen but they are ackward to hold for gaming which according to reports is a big thing to do with smartphones these days :-)

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Looks like

    And that keyboard won't work well in landscape which is usually how hardware keyboard people like to type.

    Yes, I'm sure, RIM just decided to make the phone with a 'portrait' keyboard, didn't do any customer surveys or focus groups. Just made a decision, regardless of what the consumer might want.

    Oh, wait, that's how Apple works. Never mind.

    What I find funny is that not one other vendor has figures out why Apple makes the iPhone a universal shape top and bottom. It for better landscape use and gaming.

    Landscape use on the iPod/iPhone is less than useful in most circumstances. Put a keyboard on the screen while writing, and you can barely see what is coming out.

    And perhaps RIM isn't concerned so much with gaming.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    Best Blackberry Ever

    The only problem is, that its not good enough.

    It doesn't have a hi-rez screen, compared to iPhone 4, or even an Evo.
    It doesn't have the 1ghz processor.
    It doesn't have a huge selection of apps, well they knew that would be the case, so why under spec it?

    Why because they are going for the lower cost. What part of 'Flagship device' does RIM not understand?

    I got a Blackberry, I don't regret it. I only bought it because of the free tethering that T-mobile allows.
    The phone takes calls, it can access the internet in a pinch - I have a hardware wi-fi tethering box to allow iPad tethering on the road - that's the killer feature for me..

    But - would I particularly care about getting a 9800 - no, not really. I picked the best blackberry I could get, the 9700, if this device had been available, I would have picked the 9800 - sure, its the best Blackberry so far - but not enough has changed today.

    I think RIM understands that, and is working like mad now, on the next update.

  1. dankothehun

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2009


    Just to recap the latest iPhone "Killer"

    8GB for same price as 16GB iPhone Yes I know you can upgrade to 32GB, but current costs for 32GB Microsd over $100, which makes it more expensive the 32GB iPhone 4
    No HD video
    Shorter battery life
    Lower resolution
    smaller screen
    must use Blackberry Messenger per user license vs ActiveSync ($0) and which means when Blackberry has an outage, you get no email no matter what company you work for.

    webkit browser (same as iPhone)

    It's no wonder more and more CEOs and CIOs prefer iPhone.

    Blackberry will soon be as irrelevant as Palm was before HP bought them.

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