We look at the all-touch BlackBerry Torch 9860
RIM's new BlackBerry Torch line is a reboot for the company. After the Storm and Storm2 failed to stem the tide of the iPhone and later Android, the new Torch shows signs RIM has learned its lesson: a faster processor, a touch interface, and the death of its infamous click-down screen. But is it enough? Our review of the Torch 9850 and 9860 will see if RIM is back in form or if its rivals are still moving faster.
Nexus Prime may be buried by iPhone 5 release
The first official phone running Android's Ice Cream Sandwich update, alternately called the Google Nexus Prime or Samsung Droid Prime, may ship to Verizon roughly in sync with the iPhone 5. A rumor from a reported Verizon corporate worker claims that the flagship should be available "around [the] release of iPhone 5." He also told Droid-Life that there weren't indications at his level of the Droid badging reserved for Verizon-only phones, although he didn't rule it out.
Analyst hears RIM may profit from carrier upset
RIM may see a bounce back in the market simply out of carrier worries of an Apple and Google duopoly, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu learned on Friday. After talking to carriers, he heard that networks are worried about the "growing dominance" of Android and the iPhone and were sorely looking for a third option to keep competition up. With Nokia not due to ship its first Windows Phones until September, he said, the BlackBerry could benefit simply by being a well-established company with a recently revamped phone line.
BlackBerry Torch 9850, 9860 bring fast full touch
RIM greatly widened its smartphone mix on Wednesday with two more BlackBerry 7 devices. The 9850 and 9860 are the first touch-only phones from RIM to get a high-resolution screen: either has a 480x800 LCD that finally makes them competitive with modern Android hardware and more comparable to the iPhone. The two likewise drop the often criticized click-down SurePress screen from the Storm and use multi-touch instead, much like the Torch 9810.
Leak has iPad 2 pushing Thunderbolt launch out
The iPad 2 launch may have scuppered the launch plans for the HTC Thunderbolt this week, according to an unearthed memo. A roadmap showing "the next big thing" at the carrier has the company's attentions devoted all to the Apple tablet's release this week. The Thunderbolt was next in the Droid-Life shot but didn't have a timetable attached.
Marvell hints RIM focusing on low-end BlackBerry
Marvell in its financial results call on Friday may have given signs that RIM is stepping away from high-end BlackBerry phones. CEO Sehat Sutardja blamed a steeper than expected 34 percent revenue drop primarily on RIM moving to "entry-level smartphones," where Marvell doesn't have chips to offer. Most of Marvell's designs in the BlackBerry line have focused on flagships like the Bold and Torch.
BlackBerry Storm3 shown for real in video
RIM's long in the making BlackBerry Storm3 has appeared in the flesh on Friday through a video (below). Along with confirming its combination of a keyboard-free design with a trackpad, the slip shows the extra screen area afforded by the 3.7-inch, 480x800 display. It clearly represents a Verizon prototype and has both the Verizon logo and on-phone theming along with a "live air activation" market indicating that it was ready to work on the CDMA and EVDO networks, hinted by a 3G badge in the upper right of the display.
T-Mobile hints Bold Touch, Storm3 on roadmap
A slate of leaks from a T-Mobile "See BlackBerry Different" event may have confirmed that it will have much of the 2011 BlackBerry roadmap on its schedule. The BlackBerry PlayBook would come to the carrier, but would unusually be the Wi-Fi only version. While not explained by PocketBerry's insider, it may be sold as a companion for those who already have a BlackBerry phone to tether with the tablet.
Verizon roadmap shows Incredible 2 and Monaco
A purportedly escaped roadmap for Verizon has given out possible timetables for some of its most important phones, including ones it hasn't yet announced. The rumored Droid Incredible sequel might ship in the first quarter of March despite remaining an official secret. The buttonless touchscreen device is rumored by Phone Arena to be a world phone with both CDMA and GSM.
BlackBerry Storm3 is Monaco, gets 1.2GHz chip
RIM's on-again, off-again BlackBerry Storm3 has reappeared in yet another leak on Friday with signs that it could be RIM's most advanced BlackBerry ever. Matching early rumors, BGR heard it would have the highest resolution display of any BlackBerry at 800x480, keeping it step with most Android phones but below the iPhone 4. Speed would also be recouped through the same 1.2GHz processor and dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi as the Torch 2.
Verizon said seeing iPhone as critical to plans
Verizon considers the iPhone as "essential to its future success," Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said on Tuesday. Receiving further updates from purported sources, he understood that Verizon is "excited" to launch the iPhone. The carrier allegedly still believes that Apple is vital to offsetting slowing Android sales.
Jeffries says Storm3 intact, PlayBook 2 coming
Jefferies & Co. this week issued a research note that insisted that RIM hadn't cancelled the Storm3 and that a second BlackBerry PlayBook tablet was in the works. It claimed that the model with the click-down SurePress screen had indeed been cancelled but that a version without, like the Torch, was on track for late November. The Storm3 that ships would still be very mild with 512MB of RAM, BlackBerry 6 and a five-megapixel camera as its only upgrades over the 2009 phone.
RIM may have axed Storm3 for all carriers
Plans to drop the BlackBerry Storm3 may not only affect Verizon but every carrier, a notice to a developer may have revealed today. The app writer was told that the 9570, a "refresh" of the Storm2, was no longer being developed at all and that an app written for the touchscreen model would have to be modified to fit other hardware. BBLeaks' copy of the memo instead steered the developer towards writing BlackBerry 6 apps for upgradeable phones like the Bold 9650 and Curve 3G.
BlackBerry Storm3 shown in photo as the 9570?
RIM's BlackBerry Storm3, has shown up once again with its final numeric badge, 9570, in tow. What the final name of the handset will be remains to be seen, however, but the photo originally obtained by BBLeaks (currently down) is proof that the device is still on track and perhaps due out soon. The handset in this image sports 3G data and CDMA voice network support and has Wi-Fi built-in.
BlackBerry Storm3 said to be no better than Torch
A purported photo of the BlackBerry Storm3 was challenged tonight by a claim from multiple sources. The tip didn't necessarily label the shot a fake but reinforced the view that it was a modest upgrade at best. BGR was told would look almost identical to the Storm2, with SurePress intact, and on the outside would be slightly thinner and lighter.
BlackBerry Storm3 shot shows larger LCD, trackpad
The upcoming BlackBerry Storm3 may have been sighted for the first time with a lone shot supplied today. The image of an engineering prototype shows not just a larger 3.7-inch screen but the addition of a trackpad; RIM has never used a trackball or trackpad on a Storm before. BerryReview was also told that it would have 8GB of storage built-in and may have Wi-Fi hotspot sharing.
BB Torch and Droid 2 have muted results
Motorola and RIM faced underwhelming results today as both the Droid 2 and BlackBerry Torch reached stores with little fanfare. Checks both by CNN and Electronista have revealed that no stores have faced lineups or known sellouts. Most stores as of Thursday afternoon still had significant stock, and online availability is immediate.
Verizon to end Storm2 and Curve 8530 in August
RIM is about to phase out the BlackBerry Curve 8530 and Storm2 for their direct replacements. A leak late last evening showed that Verizon is marking both phones as "end of life" and will pull the Curve on August 1 while the Storm2 exits on August 15. The same memo obtained by BBLeaks also refers to the decision to cancel the Droid.
BBerry Storm3 leak shows timid upgrade
RIM's one-time iPhone rival the may get its second low-key refresh in as many years if a slip from a presentation is borne out. The Storm3, nicknamed "Odin Refresh," would see little changed superficially from the Storm2 with just a five-megapixel camera, 512MB of RAM and 802.11n Wi-Fi as its upgrades. Most of the changes known by Engadget would be in software, in the form of BlackBerry OS 6 and a new 3G-to-Wi-Fi hotspot router app.
Verizon LTE launch plans leak early
Verizon's very early 4G plans may have surfaced tonight. A new but purportedly reliable source to BGR understands the carrier's LTE (Long Term Evolution) network should go live on November 15 and would be followed by a "slew of new devices" on Black Friday, November 26. As expected, only 25 cities would have 4G from the start, but this would be enough to cover 100 million potential customers.
Rumored device pairs trouchscreen with slider
A leaked image appears to show the rumored BlackBerry touchscreen slider. The images, posted on BB Leaks, corroborate earlier reports describing a device with a Pre-like slider and a touchscreen facade similar to the current Storm2. Unlike the Storm2, however, an optical trackpad appears to be placed between the four buttons below the touchscreen.
BB Magnum with SurePress, QWERTY spotted in video
The BlackBerry Magnum 9220 is still alive and well, judging by this video, comparing it to existing BlackBerry devices. The handset is called a hybrid of a Bold and Storm, as it has both a full QWERTY keyboard and a SurePress touchscreen that clicks when pressed. Other changes compared to a Bold include a micro USB port rather than a mini USB, and there is no flash on the Magnum's camera, though this could be due to it being a prototype model.
2nd-gen BlackBerry iPhone rival tested
The first BlackBerry Storm was at first held up as the savior for carriers without the iPhone, but over time it became clear RIM's entry was short of this goal: an aging OS, no Wi-Fi and a misconceived push-down touchscreen meant it often didn't please either would-be iPhone buyers or BlackBerry veterans. The Storm2 addresses some of these features in a major way, but we'll find out in our review whether it's enough to change people's minds.
Storm to get Storm2 features via firmware update?
BlackBerry Storm 9530 users can get some of the functionality of the handset that replaced it, the Storm2 9550, via a software update from provider Verizon, an unnamed Verizon representative tells PhoneArena. Users will be able to perform the same flick scrolling, tabbed browsing and threaded texting on the Storms, however. The 9550 also has an improved SurePress typing system with four sensors and a freeze-out feature when the device is off.
Hardware and software could be ready for public
RIM's BlackBerry Storm 2 has surfaced in several authorized reviews, potentially indicating the device is almost ready to be launched. Although several unauthorized videos have been circulated, the latest materials likely feature hardware and software that has been finalized for close scrutiny.
BB Storm2 dated for Telus
The sequel to the BlackBerry Storm smartphone, the 9550, is expected to be released at provider Telus on September 15th, according to an unofficial report on the Internet. Telus is also teasing in TV commercials and in movie theater previews with a September 15th date, but does not reveal what is due on that date. Verizon is rumored to get the new BlackBerry handset sometime in October.
Verizon sells 1m Storms
Following up with its quarterly financial disclosure, Verizon representatives have finally confirmed that the company has sold more than 1 million BlackBerry Storm handsets, according to Computerworld. Unofficial estimates last month suggested the company had sold 500,000 of the devices in the first month since its release. If the number was accurate, the achievement of 1 million units points to a sustained distribution through the second month of availability.
Rogers Fido Roadmap 2009
An initial 2009 roadmap for phones at Canadian provider Rogers and its sub-label Fido has leaked and provided clues not only to devices coming to the West for the first time but a new BlackBerry device. A new Pearl Flip will represent a quick turnaround for RIM and will add HSPA-based 3G for faster Internet access; it will also be the first non-QWERTY phone from the company to have both GPS and Wi-Fi at the same time. The new Flip is due sometime in the first half of 2009 and will be available only through Rogers.
Verizon Storm update
Verizon has officially released the 18.104.22.168 firmware update today for the BlackBerry Storm handset made by Research In Motion (RIM). The update addresses the newly released handset's numerous issues, including a large amount of lag, voice-dialing problems and need to perform reboots. While the update was leaked to a select few Storm users last week, this release will cover all Storm owners.
T-Mob. cuts G1 price in UK
The UK division of T-Mobile has slashed prices on the Android-based G1 smartphone, an announcement reveals. People should now be able to get the phone for free when signing up for a £30-per-month contract; previously, the G1 could only be had for free with a £40 tariff plan. Though the company is not providing an automatic discount to earlier customers, it is offering to switch people over to the cheaper plan.
Needham on iPhone Share
The iPhone is now not only the second most popular smartphone in the world but has saved the smartphone industry from a decline this past summer, according to a research note by Needham analyst Charlie Wolf. Apple's handset has represented about 16.6 percent of the entire smartphone market worldwide for the quarter ended in September and is now second only to Nokia. The latter has already acknowledged struggling smartphone share but is now known to have plummeted from 63.3 percent of the market a year ago to 43.6 percent owing largely to the spike in iPhone sales triggered by its 3G version.
BBerry Storm Telus Pricing
Telus today priced out its version of the BlackBerry Storm. Contradicting some early rumors, the Canadian carrier says it will offer the Storm at promo pricing for $250 CAD ($200 US) on a three-year plan, or closer to (but still above) the cost of the iPhone 3G on Rogers. The phone will also be available on shorter terms and should sell for $600 when contract-free. More details should be available shortly, the company says.
BBerry Storm Firmware Leak
A leak from BGR on Monday reveals that Research in Motion is already close to releasing a firmware patch for the BlackBerry Storm that will address the numerous software flaws affecting the launch edition phone. The 22.214.171.124 update dramatically improves the response time for tasks such as rotating to landscape mode, browsing photos or playing music, all of which have suffered from delays as long as several seconds for certain tasks.
Telus BBerry Storm Pricing
Telus may charge a high enough premium for its version of the BlackBerry Storm that it no longer directly competes with its intended rival from Apple, a controversial leak from BGR claims. The touchscreen phone is now said by an alleged source to be priced at $300 CAD ($243 US) on a three-year plan -- as much as Rogers' high-end iPhone 3G with 15GB more storage and $43 US more than Verizon's pricing in the US for a shorter two-year term.
BBerry Storm Ships Sooner
Verizon appears to be quickly recuperating from the initial shortage of BlackBerry Storm phones from its high-profile launch, according to early prospective buyers. While the company had initially said that follow-up online orders might not ship until December 15th, or about three weeks after the phone's initial ship date, the company has bumped the ship date on its order page a week earlier to December 8th, suggesting an improved supply situation.
Samsung Omnia at Verizon
Verizon on Tuesday became the first American carrier to offer the Samsung Omnia. The company's second full touchscreen smartphone in as many weeks, the Americanized edition of the Omnia adds a new, customized version of Samsung's TouchWiz interface to Windows Mobile 6.1 that lets users quickly check informational widgets and change core settings without leaving the home screen. It also brings VZ Navigator as an option for the phone's native GPS and the VZAppZone as a portal for downloading third-party native apps.
RIM Falling Short in Q3 08
Research in Motion's heavily promoted BlackBerry Storm launch this Friday may not have been enough to save the company from a poor financial quarter, according to a new research note by Citi analyst Jim Suva. Although the Storm sold out at many Verizon stores since launch, Suva supports claims of a software-based delay and notes that many stores actually received significantly less units than expected, forcing many customers to wait as late as December 15th to get devices they would otherwise have had on launch.
BBerry Storm Long Lineups
Lineups for this morning's launch of the BlackBerry Storm have cracked the triple-digit mark and prompted sellouts, early reports note. One of the company's flagship stores in midtown Manhattan noted over 200 people in line for the touchscreen phone's morning debut and is said to have prompted a minor police response after a phone sellout angered those at the back of the queue. Sellouts have also been reported at other locations but haven't been given more definite numbers.
BBerry Storm Ships
Verizon today marked the official launch of the BlackBerry Storm on its network. The device matches the $199 contract price of the rivalling iPhone 3G at AT&T and is widely regarded as Verizon's best alternative to the Apple handset in features and focus. The Storm has a similarly-sized 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen meant for finger input but relies on a unique click action that requires a physical push downwards for some actions, simulating a physical button press.
Bell Smartphone Plans
Bell today heated up competition among cell carriers with a trio of Smartphone Combo plans aimed conspicuously at outpacing Rogers. The Smartphone Combo 45 plan gives users 250 minutes of calling, unlimited evenings and weekends, and 500MB of data for its namesake $45. It also provides choices of extras such as unlimited calling between five phone numbers, unlimited incoming calls, or an earlier 5PM start time for evenings.
BBerry Storm Shortage
The launch of Verizon's BlackBerry Storm on Friday may fall short of expectations due to a last-minute flaw, according to tips given to BGR. A security issue discovered at the last moment by RIM has reportedly forced both it and Verizon to update the firmware at the last minute and cut back on the supplies of phones for launch day. One Verizon store slated to receive 100 units will now get just 40, an individual example notes.
Verizon's BlackBerry Storm
Verizon early on Thursday finally committed to a final release date and price for its version of the BlackBerry Storm. Initially announced over a month ago, the first touchscreen phone from RIM will be available on November 21st through the carrier and is conspicuously priced at the same $200 contract price as Apple's iPhone from rival AT&T after factoring in a $50 rebate. The cost difference is effectively a trade-off as the device drops the 8GB of storage and full multi-touch display in favor of a 3.2-megapixel camera with video capture, a dual-format CDMA and GSM radio, microSDHC storage and a touchscreen that "clicks" to produce physical feedback.
BBerry Storm Price Leak
Verizon's adaptation of the BlackBerry Storm could cost more than its Apple rival when it finally becomes available, a page (since pulled) on Verizon's test website has revealed. The first touchscreen phone from RIM will reportedly cost $220 with a two-year contract versus Apple's $199 iPhone 3G. The price represents a partly negative trade-off where the reduction in storage from the iPhone's 8GB to 1GB is compensated for by a sharper 3.2-megapixel camera, room for microSD cards and support for both CDMA/EVDO and GSM/HSPA in the same phone.
BBerry Storm Voda Friday
Vodafone UK's version of the BlackBerry Storm could beat Verizon's model to launch by a week or more, a tip sent to Pocket-lint suggests. Third-party reseller Phones4U claims it should start taking pre-orders for the touchscreen BlackBerry as early as Tuesday and will start shipping the device on Friday, substantially ahead of the November 16th date widely rumored for Verizon. Phones4U is reportedly the only third-party UK retailer allowed to sell the Storm outside of Vodafone.
Vodafone prices Storm
UK wireless voice and data service provider Vodafone on Friday announced the pricing and availability for the BlackBerry Storm 9500 smartphone, according to news today. The Storm is available for pre-order on the provider's site now, and will be delivered on November 11th. Buyers get several purchase options, including paying £300 (about $480) for the handset when also signing up for a 12-month contract that costs £40 ($64) per month. With the same monthly plan that includes 600 minutes of talk time and unlimited text messages, although with a longer 18-month contract, the device is free.
Verizon Axed Storm Wi-Fi
Verizon's edition of the BlackBerry Storm was intentionally stripped of 3G and Wi-Fi features, according to a claim by "top-level" sources for BGR. Although it would have technically been possible to include tri-band HSPA 3G to allow true world roaming, the American carrier has reportedly had all HSPA frequency support pulled save for its partner Vodafone's 2,100MHz band to discourage buyers from unlocking the phone and using it with AT&T or other carriers.
BBerry Subs Drop Fast
BlackBerry subscription rates have dropped significantly and now leave Research in Motion dependent on its new devices to avoid a potentially damaging level of fall sales, a research note from AmTech Research analyst Rob Sanderson says today. He notes that weekly subscription rates have fallen by 20 percent from September to October and that forecasts of 2.9 million new BlackBerry users by the end of its current quarter, which ends in November, are currently "at risk."
BBerry Bold ATT on Nov 4th
AT&T today finally announced a release date for the BlackBerry Bold on its network, giving the much-delayed phone to customers. Company wireless chief Ralph de la Vega in the company's financial quartely call revealed that the first production 3G BlackBerry for HSPA networks will be available on November 4th, or roughly six months after the provider first announced it as an exclusive for its network in the US. Pricing is set at $300 with a two-year contract.
BlackBerry App Store
Research in Motion today confirmed the existence of its rumored BlackBerry Application Center, the company's attempt to parallel the iPhone's App Store. The portal will serve as a central hub for BlackBerry owners looking to download and manage apps instead of the web downloads and separate stores used before. Like Apple's offering, customers can buy directly from the software and apply upgrades; a new twist adds the ability to delete software without finding it in the regular BlackBerry OS layer.
BBerry 9220 and 9900 Slips
RIM has already outlined most if not all of its phone release plans for next year, a leak of a Rogers Wireless roadmap to BGR says. In addition to getting the Curve 8900 (Javelin) in the first quarter of the year, the Canadian provider will also allegedly receive two devices briefly mentioned in the past. Codenamed the Magnum, the BlackBerry 9220 should appear in the summer and add HSPA-based 3G to the Curve 8900 to bring it up to par with the Bold. RIM's rumored hybrid touch/keyboard device is also slated as the BlackBerry 9900, or Pluto, and would ship next fall.