Smartphones

BlackBerry unveils OS 6 and the new BlackBerry Torch 9800

Research in Motion officially launched its new BlackBerry 6 software platform and its new smartphone, the BlackBerry Torch, on Tuesday in New York City.

On Tuesday in New York City, Research in Motion officially launched its new smartphone hardware, the BlackBerry Torch 9800, along with the  BlackBerry 6 software platform.

The new BlackBerry OS has been widely anticipated as the North American smartphone leader tries to catch up with the innovations that Apple and Google have brought to the smartphone market in the past three years.

The BlackBerry 6 software looks and feels a lot more like iPhone and Android, but the first BlackBerry 6 device, the BlackBerry Torch 9800, features a slide-down version of the traditional BlackBerry keyboard. Below are more details on the new device and the OS upgrade.

BlackBerry Torch

AT&T CEO opened the event in New York by saying, "Today AT&T and RIM are introducing the best BlackBerry ever."

RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis described the Torch as "Fresh and exciting, and also familiar."

Here are the official specs of the Torch:

  • Carrier: AT&T
  • Launch date: August 12, 2010
  • Price: $199
  • BlackBerry 6 operating system
  • Hardware qwerty keyboard (slide-down)
  • 3.2 inch 480 x 360 screen
  • 512 MB SDRAM
  • 4 GB eMMC + 4 GB media card (expandable to 32 GB)
  • 5 MP camera, autofocus, flash, video recording
  • 1300 mAh battery
  • Weight: 161g
  • Dimensions: 111(h) x 62(w) x 14.6(d) mm

BlackBerry 6

Lazaridis said, "BlackBerry users will find BlackBerry 6 fresh but familiar. We spent a lot of time on the details."

Here's what's included in the new BlackBerry operating system:

  • Full multitouch interface
  • Faster Webkit browser
  • Universal inbox, including Facebook, Twitter, and BlackBerry Messenger
  • Redesigned home screen
  • Universal search
  • Context-sensitive menus
  • Social tools
  • Content sync over Wi-Fi
  • Homescreen notification previews
  • Will run older (pre-6) BlackBerry apps
  • BlackBerry Bold (9650 and 9700) and Pearl 3G will be upgradeable to BlackBerry 6

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About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

6 comments
msdamico
msdamico

So BlackBerry is throwing an updated Stormlike device into the iPhone camp in order to save itself? Do they really think anyone who has AT&T will choose the Torch over an iPhone? P.S. I love my Storm and the service I get with Verizon.

darpoke
darpoke

The device does smack a little of the typical Microsoft sentiment, namely "well, I really prefer coffee to beer, but if I don't show up to this party then the cool kids will forget me". But that aside, it looks like a solid featureset and I greatly approve of the slideout keyboard. Good stuff, RIM. [Disclaimer: currently using iPhone 4]

tebbec
tebbec

If offered through Sprint or Verizon I'd consider it. Not from AT&T.

b4real
b4real

I'm not too impressed. The device is a natural, evolutionary release. Where I see a shortcoming is a full revolutionary device + BB OS. The only thing going for RIM is it's inroads with corporate installations right now. It does have best of breed mobile device encryption, so that is another positive. Enterprises taking iPhones and Androids? Not so much. The fact that those two are gaining device market share is one thing, but I see RIM's BlackBerry as the 'phone work gives you'. Which is very similar to the PC world. "The work PC" is much different than "the home PC" in most situations. I'm fairly sure RIM deals with the consumerization battle every day with quick moving products from Android and iPhone, but I think they need to focus on where they'll do best -> Enterprises.