updated 01:45 pm EDT, Tue September 6, 2011
BlackBerry Torch gets first Verizon ship date
Verizon picked up its first ever BlackBerry Torch model on Tuesday with word it would carry the Torch 9850. Its version will be available online from September 8 and reach stores a week later, on September 15. The touch-only BlackBerry 7 phone will cost the now ubiquitous $200 on a two-year contract.
The edition coming to Verizon should be the same as on Sprint outside of possible light-touch carrier customizations. Both center on a 3.7-inch, 480x800 touchscreen that's RIM's largest to date as well as a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, a five-megapixel camera with 720p movie making, and a 16GB microSDHC card preloaded for storage. They vary from the 9860 in having a true dual-mode cellular link that mixes CDMA/EVDO for use in the US as well as GSM, EDGE, and HSPA for calls and data with a roaming SIM card.
A Torch launch in the US stands as a return to touchscreen-only BlackBerry phones for Verizon after years of inattention. The network was the first to get a touchscreen BlackBerry with the original Storm, but hopes that it would be an iPhone slayer fizzled as sales tapered off outside of the first several weeks. Verizon's frustration became clear when it buried the Storm2 launch to make sure the Motorola Droid got more attention and let the BlackBerry languish. RIM had no touchscreen BlackBerry for Verizon in 2010 and is only coming back having a completely new phone that drops the now tarnished Storm name.