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Cellphones Communications Handhelds

Hands On With the BlackBerry Torch 9800 126

Posted by kdawson
from the rim-shot dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Research in Motion announced the company's first slider-style BlackBerry, the Torch 9800, which is also the first BlackBerry with both a touch screen and hard keyboard, and the first device to run the new OS 6. The Torch feels and looks very much like a BlackBerry, with the proper BlackBerry Bold-style arrangements of plastic, metal, and glass; there are also BlackBerry fonts on the keys and the now-standard BlackBerry trackpad. The Torch's 3.2-inch, 360-by-480 screen is a standard capacitive LCD touch screen. The screen is bright and sharp, but it's obviously behind the competition in terms of resolution. The Torch has a 5-megapixel camera with VGA video recording, Bluetooth 2.1, 512 MB of program memory, 4 GB of built-in storage, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. The Torch has the same 624-MHz Marvell processor as the existing BlackBerry Bold. The new BlackBerry 6 OS adds touch to the interface mix. RIM appears to have totally rewritten its media apps. There's a new Desktop Manager coming with BlackBerry 6, and a Social Feeds app that combines Twitter, Facebook, and various instant messaging conversations."
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Hands On With the BlackBerry Torch 9800

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  • Blech (Score:2, Interesting)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:21PM (#33129546) Homepage Journal

    RIM is like Microsoft: not the best made stuff, but business adopted it so it's a standard of sorts.

    I hate that my workplace will buy us Blackberries but won't go iPhone (or whatever). I end up swapping the SIM to my personal iPhone and all is well but it's still wear and tear on my own stuff.

    .
  • WebKit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IceFox (18179) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:21PM (#33129548) Homepage
    Surprised it isn't in the summary, but this phone is also the first Blackberry to have a WebKit based browser which is big news.
  • Re:AT&T - No Thanks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cygnwolf (601176) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:31PM (#33129688)
    I agree. I happen to... mostly... Like my provider. Even though they don't always have the uber popular phones like the i-phone. And they completely seem to miss the point about 'rugged' phones (Nothing since the Moto W450? Really?). But I like the customer service I've gotten, I like my plan, I like my coverage... I just don't like the fact that the phone manufactures are trying to force me to pay full price for the phones I want (instead of changing to their exclusive service vendor, if you can call what AT&T and Verizon do 'service') and then go through the process of jailbreaking them to use them on the network that I like. Makes me feel like a second class citizen...
  • Look and feel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:32PM (#33129708) Homepage

    The Torch feels and looks very much like a BlackBerry

    Wait. Is that supposed to be a compliment? The only nice things to say about Blackberry relate to their keyboards and enterprise software.

  • Re:WebKit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pspahn (1175617) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:37PM (#33129784)
    I think that is what distinguishes a Blackberry as a business phone. Only a large business with many wasted resources would want to develop for a Blackberry.
  • Re:Bad Apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr. DOS (1276020) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:50PM (#33129974)

    The best part? Their careers site is rim.jobs [rim.jobs].

  • As an indie BB developer, I've mixed impressions here. The changes to OS6 look very promising (I'll be digging in more tonight since they released the SDK today, but so far they look good -- and this on top of a platform that was pretty solid to begin with, even if not the flashiest out there.) There are also some cool features - like gesture support on the trackpad, integrated search, etc - which I'm looking forward to playing with.

    A lot of things I've had to manually code workarounds for are now part of the OS. This is a two-edged sword though: I still need to support older platforms (thus must keep my legacy code); yet also want to have the more efficient/integrated advantage that comes with using native APIs. It's not *too* painful as I've already determined handling for this scenario in previous OS versions (5.0, 4.7, 4.6, 4.5, 4.3...) ... but it is frustrating as some of these things really should have been there all along. (On the other hand: this isn't a problem specific to BB. -- it's a problem with developing against any platform that undergoes significant improvements over time.)

    I was looking forward to the Torch hardware itself - since my first BB (8700c) I was thinking it would be really cool if they found a way to merge their keyboard with the Palm touchscreens. When I heard about it, I had geekgasms. Now that I'm seeing the specs... my reaction is mixed. I'm seeing a lot of feedback about the relatively slow processor (compared to other smartphones); but realistically I don't anticipate that to have much effect. My experience with BB has shown that Well written apps will run well; poorly written apps will run poorly; but the core OS will remain snappy. As long as that doesn't change, I'm not too concerned about the CPU speed. (the only exception was the 8800 - that thing was dog-slow... don't know what they were thinking.) Even the RAM doesn't bother me - though I am still h oping we'll see the ability to run apps off of SD card or at least on-board flash. Either of these would make RAM an absolute non-issue.

    What disappoints me is the screen resolution: this device has the same resolution as my 9700-- which has a much smaller screen. I really expected this to get bumped up a notch in this release, and the fact that it hasn't has me debating whether i want to get the Torch, or wait for the Flaming Torch or whatever the next version of the hardware will be. Considering how long I've been wanting exactly this device, the idea of waiting for a next rev is irksome.

    Overall: the OS looks good. The API improvements make a solid system even better. The new tools for web-based apps look very promising, and a vast improvement over their previous iteration. The hardware is "meh", but still a step up; I only wish the screen were better resolution. The fact that they're now including app store with the OS itself is also a huge improvement: too many people think that the crapware links that AT&T/whoever pushes to the phone are the extent of the BB app selection, and that's not the case. Hopefully this push (along with their planned marketing) will make both developers and consumers more aware that BB is a good platform for apps.

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