It can be somewhat puzzling to understand why Blackberry has such a commanding share of the smartphone market. That is, until you realize that corporate IT departments are notoriously slow to change and adopt new tech and RIM has always offered features that corporate America feels they cannot find in other mobile platforms. At least until recently.
You see, both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS have started to encroach on RIM’s few competitive advantages of late, offering stodgy corporate IT folk the secure Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail and calendar support they require. Predictably, Blackberry’s growth has stalled in recent quarters as iPhones and Android-powered smartphones start to find their way into executive’s hands.
That said, the latest smartphone from RIM has a decidedly more consumer-oriented feature set, designed to offer the features that are fast becoming the standard in mobile handsets. For the first time, the new Blackberry 6 OS will offer a real web browser with tabbed browsing and the official BlackBerry app store, ‘App World’ will be preloaded on the Torch, allowing users to explore and download apps direct to their device.
Have I piqued your interest? Hit the jump for all of the details on the latest Blackberry device and OS.
The Torch 9800 will offer both a touch-screen keyboard as well as a slide-out physical keyboard, with a form-factor that’s evocative of the Palm Pre. So while you can type on a virtual keyboard via the Torch’s 3.2-inch, 480 x 360 pixel display, most hardcore Blackberry users will want to snap out the physical keyboard since it’s probably why they’ve remained so loyal to their RIM devices in the first place. An optical trackpad is present, allowing you to quickly select from menu options or otherwise navigate web pages or OS screens.
The latest iteration of the Blackberry OS, BlackBerry 6, offers a universal search feature that not only queries sites like Google and YouTube, but also sifts through your e-mail, calendar events and application data. A new web-browsing feature called ‘Autowrap Text Zoom,’ re-formats web text to be more legible on the Torch’s somewhat smallish screen, while also stripping the site’s images and banner ads in an effort to offer a more uncluttered browsing experience.
Of course, it wouldn’t compete very well with the likes of Apple or HTC if it didn’t bundle robust social network support and multimedia playback capabilities. The Torch provides a social dashboard of sorts, which pulls in a chronological news feed from typical networks like Twitter and Facebook.
The phone also boasts a built-in RSS reader and a unique manager app for podcasts that should make it easier to keep up-to-date on all of your favorite news and audio streams. A native music app helps manage your music collection and easily sync your mobile device with your personal music collection stored on your home network. And finally, a 5MP digital camera with flash and automatic geo-tagging of images rounds out this smartphone’s latest features.
Hopefully, you crackberry addicts can wait until August 12th, when the Torch 9800 goes on sale. It’s only available through AT&T and will set you back $200 with the standard 2-year contract. For more info and to tour the latest Blackberry, head on over to RIM’s official site for all of the details.