Blackberry Torch 9800 coming to AT&T on August 12


The Blackberry Torch 9800 adds updates to the Blackberry Bold. Image: Flickr/liewcf

Research In Motion, the Canadian company behind the Blackberry, has announced its newest phone — the Blackberry Torch 9800. Slated for release on the AT&T network on Aug. 12, the Blackberry Torch tries to re-brand the Blackberry as a tool for both businesspeople and consumers. Some of the features on the Blackberry Torch 9800 seem like big improvements — but others have reviewers wondering why RIM bothered at all.

The basics of the Blackberry Torch 9800

The Blackberry Torch 9800 maintains many of the things that Blackberry phones have become known for. The QWERTY keyboard is housed in a slider-style case. The messaging and web browsing functions are still solidly in place, though updated. The Blackberry Torch also feels and acts much like previous Blackberry phones, with a similar size, weight, and interface. The security features on the Blackberry Torch 9800 also remain in place.

Updates in the Blackberry Torch 9800

The biggest selling point of the Blackberry Torch 9800 is going to be the new Blackberry 6 operating system. This update includes many new features on the Blackberry Torch that users have been asking for. There will be a universal search, and social networking and messaging will be integrated. There is also a new web browser based on WebKit that is reportedly more efficient than other browsers when it comes to data usage. The new browser also supports pinch-and-zoom browsing. Finally, the Blackberry Torch 9800 will come pre-loaded with the Blackberry App Store (and, on AT&T, a separate AT&T app store) to customize the phone with specially developed apps.

Concerns about the Blackberry Torch 9800

Though the Blackberry Torch 9800 integrates many requested updates, RIM may very well find itself still fighting for life in the smartphone market. The Blackberry is and has always been designed and developed for business and government use — strong security and no-frills interfaces. By adding more consumer-friendly features, RIM hopes that the Blackberry Torch will kick-start sales. However, the tiny screen with almost half the resolution of other smartphones combined with the few-frills email interface may be the downfall of this granddaddy of smartphone makers.

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