Wednesday, August 03, 2011

RIM Announces New BlackBerries For AT&T, Sprint

I haven't had my BlackBerry for a year and a half and I'm already looking for the next phone. I'm considering either another BlackBerry or an iPhone believe it or not. Now this new BlackBerry, a touchphone model Torch 9850/9860, is coming. Might keep using a BlackBerry phone afterall!
The BlackBerry Torch 9810 looks very similar to the existing AT&T Torch, but has many upgrades under the hood, including the new BlackBerry 7 OS. The Torch 9850/9860 for AT&T, Sprint, and US Cellular, meanwhile, is RIM's latest attempt at a touchscreen-only model after ditching the BlackBerry Storm moniker.

Of the two new devices, the 9850/9860 is fresher and more daring. RIM has tried to do full-touchscreen phones before, in Verizon Wireless's BlackBerry Storm and Storm2. But the original Storm was buggy, and the Storm2 was criticized for having a difficult user interface.

The new touch Torch (say that five times fast) has a 3.7-inch, 800-by-480 touch screen and a 5-megapixel camera on the back with 720p HD video recording. The processor is a 1.2-Ghz, single-core Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8655, and the phone has 768MB of RAM and 4GB of storage.

The touch Torch has a curved front which RIM calls the "waterfall." The company says it makes the screen appear bigger; it certainly prevents the device from looking boxy.

The big question around the touch Torch is whether the new BlackBerry 7 OS will provide a much better touch experience than consumers found on the Storm. Superficially, BlackBerry 7 looks a lot like BlackBerry 6—similar icons, the same app tray, and the traditional BlackBerry pop-up menus. But RIM has said that it includes many core features, such as hardware graphics acceleration, which will make the experience smoother and simpler.
About when will we see this new phone come out?
AT&T said the 9810 will come out in August and the 9860 will appear sometime before the end of the year. Also this year, AT&T will launch the BlackBerry Bold 9900, with which we had some hands-on time back in May. (See the slideshow below for more details.) That's a sped-up BlackBerry Bold, without a touch screen.
I've had my eye on the Bold 9900, but hey the time will come when I will make up my mind what I want to get as far as a phone goes.

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