This morning in midtown Manhattan, AT&T and RIM jointly unveiled the BlackBerry Torch 9800
, the first smartphone that features the BlackBerry 6 operating system.
With a touchscreen, a slider keyboard, and a slew of new features, AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph de la Vega touts the Torch as the best BlackBerry ever.
"We were the first to launch the BlackBerry solution in 1999 and have a rich history of innovation and collaboration with Research In Motion," says de la Vega. "The two companies that brought the first BlackBerry smartphones to market have teamed up again with the new BlackBerry Torch, creating a true generational shift in hardware and operating system for this enormously popular service."
"This is one of the most significant launches in RIM's history," says Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO, Research In Motion. "With a new user interface, new browser, and new handset design, the highly anticipated BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry 6 deliver integrated and uncompromising capabilities for consumers and business professionals that preserve the industry-leading strengths of the BlackBerry platform while adding exciting new dimensions."
Don Lindsay, VP of User Experience at RIM, said that the Torch and BlackBerry 6 were built around giving not only existing customers the best user experience possible, but also giving a great user experience to those who are new to BlackBerry. Their guiding principles were for the device to be fresh but familiar, approachable and easy to learn, and powerful and flexible.
This was achieved through 3 new features: a redesigned home screen with new features such as notification previews; additional content and views to give users a variety of ways to look at their content; and universal search, which allows users to search all of the content on their phone, as well as the app store and the Internet.
A redesigned multimedia environment is another of the new feature of the Torch. Management of social and RSS feeds, as well as a new browser with tabs and auto wrap text zoom, are other highlights. Auto wrap text zoom enlarges the font on a webpage, then automatically reformats the page so that it is readable for the user.
BlackBerry Torch was also designed to be friendlier to consumers and app developers alike. According to David Yach, CTO of Software at RIM, BlackBerry 6 makes it significantly easier to find apps since BlackBerry App World comes pre-installed on the Torch. Universal search makes it easier to search for apps, and several payment options, including carrier billing, make it easier to pay for apps. BlackBerry 6 makes it easier for developers to create apps and profit from them as well with the AT&T Developer Program.
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 will be available through AT&T beginning August 12 and will cost $199 with a two-year contract with a data plan.
BlackBerry Torch Specifications
- Approx. 4.4" (5.8" open) x 2.4" x .57" and weighing 5.68 ounces
- 3.2" 360x480 capacitive touch screen display
- 35 key full QWERTY backlit slide-out keyboard (BlackBerry's signature keyboard)
- Optical trackpad
- 624 MHz processor with 512 MB Flash memory
- 4 GB built-in memory storage plus a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 32 GB cards; a 4 GB card is included
- 5 MP camera with flash, continuous auto focus, image stabilization, scene modes, geo-tagging and zoom, as well as video recording at up to 640x480 resolution
- Built-in GPS
- Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
- 3.5mm stereo headset jack
- BlackBerry Desktop Software 6
- Tri-band HSDPA (3G) and quad-band EDGE
- Removable, rechargeable 1300 mAh battery that provides approximately 5.8 hours of talk time on 3G networks
For more information about the BlackBerry Torch smartphone, visit www.att.com/blackberrytorch
For more information on BlackBerry 6, visit www.blackberry.com/6
To view screen shots, visit the Inside BlackBerry Blog: www.blackberry.com/blog
Research In Motion is releasing an SDK for BlackBerry 6 (also announced today). Developers can find additional details at www.blackberry.com/developers/blackberry6