The new BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 embrace the current smartphone trend of a touch screen sans physical keyboard, a significant departure from the "traditional" BlackBerry model of physical QWERTY keyboard paired to a smaller screen.??Ã
The Torch offers a 3.7-inch touch screen (which RIM claims on its Website is "the largest on a BlackBerry smartphone yet") along with a 1.2 GHz processor and a well-constructed body. (The back, seen here, is textured for more friction and thus less sliding around on smooth surfaces.)
The virtual keyboard's keys feel tiny, but they prove responsive to touch. RIM's software proves reasonably accurate at predicting your word choice while typing emails or search terms, which means rapid composition and Web cruising.??Ã
The Torch, like the other new phones in RIM's line, relies on BlackBerry 7 OS, which RIM claims allows for faster browser, smoother navigation, voice-activated universal search and preinstalled apps such as the enhanced BlackBerry Messenger 6.
As with previous BlackBerry devices and software, the primary strength of the Torch running BlackBerry 7 OS is the messaging platform, which consolidates multiple email boxes into one simple-to-use interface.
The 5-megapixel camera is capable of capturing 720p video. It also includes a variety of modes and features such as face detection.
With all these software toys, it's sometimes easy to forget that a smartphone's primary feature is to make phone calls.
The Torch offers built-in GPS and BlackBerry Maps, for easier navigation from point A to B.
BlackBerry Messenger 6 also includes enhanced capabilities, which RIM hopes will allow it to blunt competition from the increasingly sophisticated iOS and Android platforms.
RIM hopes developers will continue to create apps for its BlackBerry App World.
With a depth of 0.45 inches, the smartphone certainly feels thin.
In a bid to appeal more to a consumer audience, RIM has been selling its BlackBerry devices as multimedia performers. Seen here, video is playing on the Torch's 800x480 display.