Hands-on with the BlackBerry Torch 9800

Hands-on with the BlackBerry Torch 9800

Summary: ZDNet UK takes a hands-on look at the first BlackBerry smartphone to include both a Qwerty keypad and a touchscreen, plus the new BlackBerry 6 OS

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  • Research In Motion announced the BlackBerry Torch 9800, its first slider phone, on Tuesday.

    The device takes its name from Torch Mobile, a mobile browser company that RIM bought around a year ago. Accordingly, it is the first BlackBerry to use RIM's new WebKit-based browser. The browser forms part of the new BlackBerry 6 operating system, which also makes its debut on the Torch. The new OS will be available as an upgrade for two older devices only, the Bold 9700 and the Pearl 3G.

    The Torch is also the first BlackBerry to ship with RIM's App World application store preinstalled and the first to have 4GB of internal memory — although only half a gigabyte is available for the installation of apps.

    The device will be available exclusively on AT&T in the US from 12 August. Vodafone and Orange will carry it in the UK, although it is unclear how much they will charge or when they will release the handset.

  • The Torch 9800 features both a Qwerty keypad and a touchscreen.

    The handset does away with the clickable touchscreen — an idiosyncratic RIM technology — that the company used in its Storm handsets. At the phone's London launch, a spokesman for the company said RIM is not dropping clickable touchscreens altogether. However, as can be seen in the next picture, a standard capacitive touchscreen was needed to fit the design of the Torch.

Topics: Mobility, Smartphones

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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