Introducing the BlackBerry Torch

by Jordan Richardson on August 4, 2010

Waterloo’s Research In Motion unveiled the brand spankin’ new BlackBerry Torch in New York at a glitzy press event on Tuesday.

The Torch is expected to be available for Canadian consumers before the end of the year.

The new device from RIM also features a new operating system in the form of BlackBerry 6. RIM will be aiming the product right at the iPhone 4 in attempts to make some market headway, but some analysts are a little hesitant to label the Torch as an “iPhone Killer” just yet.

Even so, the device appears to make some improvements to the issues plaguing BlackBerry devices in the past. The much-needed O/S upgrade is a good start in that it corrects some of the product’s past difficulties, but some analysts don’t think the upgrade goes far enough.

The O/S will be installed on the Torch, of course. It’ll also be compatible with several older BlackBerry models, including the BlackBerry Bold 9700, Bold 9650 and Pearl 3G, according to The Wire Report, and features a redesigned user interface along with an upgraded web browser.

“The operating system has some new touches and integration, but there’s nothing here that really represents a leap forward beyond what others are providing,” said Ross Rubin, an analyst with the NPD Group.

Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s co-CEO, touted the “slider” design of the Torch as “one of the most important product introductions in our history.” Along with the slide-out keyboard, the BlackBerry Torch features a touchscreen interface.

August 12 marks the sale date for the BlackBerry Torch in the United States. It will retail for $199 on a two-year contract with AT&T. Canada’s Bell, Telus and Rogers all claimed that they’d be offering the Torch later in the year.

Whether the BlackBerry Torch can make a splash against the juggernaut iPhone 4 remains to be seen, but you have to admire the tenacity of RIM for making a go of it. They firmly believe in this product, that much is clear, and have made strides to provide a more fluid experience for users.

While some early reviews have described various issues, including some trouble with screen resolution, it’s clear that RIM is hoping to put their best foot forward with the Torch.

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August 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Telephone systems guy August 4, 2010 at 9:19 am

I think it’s pretty hard to compete with the very large touch screen phones coming out now.

Personally I was never too much of a fan of blackberry keyboards, they end up too small for my fingers, and while touch screen keyboards are still not huge the changing button size as you move over them helps mitigate that.

That said, that phone is 1/3 the cost of the iphone 4, so its in somewhat of a different market. I don’t think it will make a dent on iphone at all, but it probably will get a large share of the market looking for a business phone, not willing to shell out for an iphone.

Jordan Richardson August 4, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Yeah, I’m inclined to agree. I think it’s going to be tough for RIM to tackle anything beyond their niche market, which is primarily the business users. Maybe they need to focus on that angle purely and introduce products designed to optimize business usage and so forth.

On the larger screen tip, I certainly agree. I think as the population ages, the buying power will shift to older users and the touchscreens will become more necessary – especially in larger sizes.

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