Waterloo’s Research in Motion made its triumphant reveal of the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone this morning. Mere moments later, Canada’s three biggest wireless providers and AT&T USA announced that they would be indeed picking up the hot new smartphone. The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is the first slider phone to come out of the RIM camp and it takes on a form factor similar to that of the Palm Pre. It’s a vertical slider, but there’s also an optical trackpad under the 3.2-inch touchscreen in addition to the BB 9700-esque QWERTY keyboard.
Among the notable features are the new BlackBerry OS 6, five-megapixel camera, GPS, Wi-Fi, a new web browser, enhanced multimedia features, Social Feeds app, 4GB internal memory, microSD slot, and 3G connectivity.
AT&T is the only company with a definite release date; they will begin selling the 9800 on August 12th exclusively in AT&T stores, Best Buy, Wal-Mart and RadioShack. On the flip side, Canada’s top carriers are still humming and hawing over the release date regardless of RIMs local presence. Rogers says they’ll share details as they get “closer to launch,” Telus will sell the BlackBerry Torch 9800 “this year,” and Bell says it’s coming “this fall.” This is a textbook representation of how the Canadian wireless market is in comparison to that of the south.
BlackBerry Torch Smartphone First to Feature New BlackBerry 6 Combines New Touch Screen Experience with Easy-To-Use Keyboard and Rich WebKit Browser First Smartphone to Support AT&T’s Next Generation Messaging Experience, and First to Offer Locations Feature New BlackBerry App World Pre-installed with Carrier Billing Support
Dallas and Waterloo, ON – Joining forces to offer the first smartphone to feature the highly anticipated BlackBerry® 6 exclusively on the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T* and Research In Motion (RIM) today introduced the new BlackBerry® Torch™ 9800 smartphone. Adept for socially connected consumers and packed with the tools business customers love, the new handset is the world’s first smartphone to combine a BlackBerry® keyboard with a full touch screen experience. Whether users choose to type out messages on the capacitive touch screen or easy-to-use BlackBerry keyboard, browse the Internet using pinch to zoom or fluidly navigate with the optical trackpad, the BlackBerry Torch allows them to communicate any way they want.
“We were the first to launch the BlackBerry solution in 1999 and have a rich history of innovation and collaboration with Research In Motion,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “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 and we are proud to introduce the new BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry 6 together with AT&T,” said 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.”
The BlackBerry Torch is the first BlackBerry smartphone to launch with BlackBerry 6, a new operating system that retains the familiar and trusted features that distinguish the BlackBerry brand while delivering a fresh, approachable and engaging experience that’s powerful and easy to use.
BlackBerry 6 features a redesigned interface that seamlessly works with the touch screen and trackpad, includes expanded messaging capabilities with intuitive features to simplify the management of social networking and RSS feeds (Social Feeds), and provides integrated access to the BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™), Facebook®, Twitter™, MySpace™ and various instant messaging applications available on the BlackBerry Torch smartphone. Its enhanced multimedia experience rivals the best in the industry and includes a dedicated YouTube app and Podcasts app.
BlackBerry 6 also integrates a new and rich WebKit-based browser on BlackBerry Torch that renders HTML web pages (as well as HTML email) quickly and beautifully for a great browsing experience. It features tabs for accessing multiple sites simultaneously, pinch to zoom for easy navigation and an auto-wrap text zoom feature that can intelligently wrap text in a column while maintaining the placement of a page’s key elements (simply double-tap on the BlackBerry Torch).
Universal search, always accessible from the Home Screen, allows users to search through email, messages, contacts, music, videos and more on the smartphone, as well as extend search to the Internet or to discover applications on BlackBerry App World™.
Messaging has always been a core element of the BlackBerry smartphone experience and the BlackBerry Torch smartphone expands on RIM’s popular messaging solutions with the support of AT&T’s advanced messaging features for SMS and MMS. RIM’s new Text Messages application is especially exciting for users who communicate most via SMS and MMS, providing support for AT&T’s next-generation messaging experience, which includes group messaging with “reply all” functionality for up to 10 contacts. And for the first time, AT&T’s platform includes a new Locations feature.
Locations lets users easily search for points of interest, businesses, and even the user’s own location, and insert this information directly into a message, all without leaving the messaging application. Using group messaging and locations together, users can arrange to meet a group of friends easily by sending one message to all of them, discussing together where to meet and then sending a map – all in one threaded conversation. AT&T designed the service based on research that revealed customers want features that help facilitate social planning, improved message organization and location sharing.
Apps At Your Fingertips
After powering up the BlackBerry Torch smartphone for the first time, users will notice a set of pre-loaded icons which allow them to download and immediately begin using a variety of rich entertainment and social networking applications to access Bloomberg, ESPN, The Weather Channel and Slacker Radio content in addition to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and more. Also available is AT&T’s Web Video Search, a unique new app that searches video content from over 70 major Internet video websites.
In addition to searching the Internet for video, the BlackBerry Torch smartphone also features more multimedia apps that let users download TV shows and watch live TV, as well as create video content and upload it to YouTube. The new Podcasts application makes it easy for users to find and manage audio and video podcasts.
Another application that puts a key function of a phone at your fingertips is Visual Voicemail, which benefits customers by allowing them to select the voicemails they want to hear first.
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is also the first BlackBerry smartphone to include BlackBerry App World™ pre-installed, supporting carrier billing through AT&T, making it easier for customers to discover and purchase applications.
BlackBerry Torch Smartphone Features
• Elegant styling, measuring approx. 4.4″ (5.8″ open) x 2.4″ x .57″ and weighing 5.68 ounces
• 3.2″ 360×480 capacitive touch screen display
• 35 key full QWERTY backlit slide-out keyboard, designed to feel optimally balanced when opened for typing
• Optical trackpad that makes navigation fast and smooth
• Powerful 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 giving users 8 GB of storage out-of-the-box
• 5 MP camera with flash, continuous auto focus, image stabilization, scene modes, geo-tagging and zoom, as well as video recording at up to 640×480 resolution
• Built-in GPS for location-based applications and geo-tagging
• Wi-Fi® (802.11 b/g/n); qualifying smartphone customers can enjoy seamless connectivity to over 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots at no additional cost
• 3.5mm stereo headset jack
• Premium phone features, including voice activated dialing, speakerphone and Bluetooth® (2.1) with support for hands-free headsets, stereo headsets, car kits (including systems that support the Bluetooth Message Access Profile standard) and other Bluetooth accessories
• New BlackBerry® Desktop Software 6 with integrated media sync for easily syncing music, photos and videos**. It also includes Wi-Fi Music Sync, a unique feature that allows users to view their entire iTunes® or Windows Media® Player music libraries from their BlackBerry smartphone, create and edit playlists as well as select music for download. When in range of their home Wi-Fi network (or via USB), the changes are synced with iTunes or Windows Media Player and the songs are automatically downloaded to the smartphone
• Tri-band HSDPA (3G) and quad-band EDGE support for the option of voice service in more than 220 countries, data service in more than 195 countries and 3G connectivity in more than 125 countries, including Japan and South Korea
• Removable, rechargeable 1300 mAhr battery that provides approximately 5.8 hours of talk time on 3G networks or 30 hours of audio playback or 6 hours of video playback
Pricing and Availability
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone will be available only for AT&T customers on August 12 in AT&T company owned retail stores and online at www.att.com/blackberrytorch, as well as Best Buy, Wal-Mart and RadioShack stores.
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 will be available for $199.99 with 2-year service agreement on a qualifying rate plan and smartphone data plan required. New smartphone customers may choose from two AT&T monthly data plan options, $15 for 200 MB of wireless data or $25 for 2 GB. Enterprise and small business customers should contact their account representative for pricing details.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
AT&T imposes: a Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge of up to $1.25 to help defray costs incurred in complying with obligations and charges imposed by State and Federal telecom regulations; State and Federal Universal Service charges; and surcharges for government assessments on AT&T. These fees are not taxes or government-required charges.
**Certain music files may not be supported, including files that contain digital rights management technologies. Photo and video syncing is currently only available for Windows-based PCs.
Limited-time offer. Other conditions & restrictions apply. See contract & rate plan brochure for details. Subscriber must live & have a mailing addr. within AT&T’s owned wireless network coverage area. Up to $36 activ. fee applies. Equipment price & avail may vary by mrk & may not be available from independent retailers. Early Termination Fee: None if cancelled in the first 30 days, but up to $35 restocking fee may apply to equipment returns; thereafter up to $325. Some agents impose add’l fees. Unlimited voice services: Unltd voice svcs are provided primarily for live dialog between two individuals. No additional discounts are available with unlimited plan. Smartphone Data Plan Requirement: Smartphones require a DataPlus (200MB) or DataPro (2GB) plan. If you exceed your initial data allowance, you will automatically be charged an additional $10 for each additional 1GB provided on DataPro or an additional $15 for each additional 200MB provided on DataPlus. All data allowances, including overages, must be used in the billing period in which the allowance is provided or they will be forfeited. An Enterprise Data Plan is required for corporate email, company intranet sites and business applications. For more details on Data Plans, go to att.com/dataplans. Offnet Usage: If your mins of use (including unltd svcs) on other carrier’s networks (“offnet usage”) during any two consecutive months or your data use during any month exceeds your offnet usage allowance, AT&T may at its option terminate your svc, deny your contd use of other carriers’ coverage, or change your plan to one imposing usage charges for offnet usage. Your offnet usage allowance is equal to the lesser of 750 mins or 40% of the Anytime mins incl’d with your plan (data offnet usage allowance is the lesser of 24 MB or 20% of the KB incl’d with your plan). Sales tax calculated based on price of unactivated equipment. AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots- Based on non-municipal company owned and operated hotspots. A Wi-Fi enabled device required. Other restrictions apply. See www.attwifi.com for additional services, restrictions and locations. Visual Voicemail – Data plan required for AT&T Visual Voicemail. Data used in replying to and forwarding voicemail messages via SMS, MMS or email is counted against your data plan. Applicable data charges apply if data plan limits have been exceeded. International data charges apply to receiving, replying to and forwarding voicemail messages while roaming internationally.
About Research In Motion (RIM)
Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications. RIM technology also enables a broad array of third party developers and manufacturers to enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity to data. RIM’s portfolio of award-winning products, services and embedded technologies are used by thousands of organizations around the world and include the BlackBerry® wireless platform, the RIM Wireless Handheld™ product line, software development tools, radio-modems and software/hardware licensing agreements. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. RIM is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ: RIMM) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RIM). For more information, visit www.rim.com or www.blackberry.com.
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