RIM’s first BlackBerry 6 Phone: The BlackBerry Torch

Footage detailing what BlackBerry 6 is all about has been making the rounds on the web.  We knew it was geared towards social networking, while still remaining a great phone for business users.  It was obvious that RIM was going to bring out some sort of touchscreen BlackBerry with the new OS, and now we finally have it in the BlackBerry Torch, and it’s exclusive to AT&T.

The BlackBerry Torch looks like RIM decided to do it’s own riff on the Palm Pre form factor, and it actually turned out pretty well.  It has a 3.2-inch touchscreen, with the ubiquitous four BlackBerry buttons and trackpad beneath it.  The introduction of the trackpad makes it obvious RIM is moving away from the ill-fated Storm and it’s ridiculous click-screen.  Instead, the Torch has a normal multi-touch capacitive touchscreen.  It still has an on-screen keyboard, but RIM knows it’s users prefer it’s great physical keyboard, so it included on that slides beneath the screen.

With the Torch, RIM is happy to tout the Universal Search available in BlackBerry 6.  Universal Search will search everything on the phone (email, music, apps, App World) as well as the internet.  RIM has also included a feature not even Apple has been able to figure out yet: wireless syncing of media to devices via WiFi.  In one last innovation in BlackBerry 6, RIM has enabled a two finger tap to select and move multiple items or folders around on the phone.  The browser is finally WebKit-based like the browsers on iOS, Android and WebOS devices.  It also compresses data two to three times normal, which would help keep data usage down.  The downside is it seems there is no way to make the browser fool websites into thinking it’s a desktop browser, which would keep many sites to the stripped-down mobile versions. {PC Mag}

For the device itself, while the form factor and OS are exciting, the specs aren’t.  The 3.2-inch screen has a resolution of a measly 480×360, whereas most smartphones now have screens with a resolution of 800×480.  The processor is also lagging behind, running at just 624 MHz compared to the 1 GHz processor in most other flagship smartphones.  Out of the box, the Torch will have 8 GB of storage, 4 GB of built-in storage plus a 4 GB micro SD card which can be replaced with cards of up to 32 GB {Gizmodo}.  That’s a bit of a letdown, and can make the phone lag quite a bit.  Still, it’s not the worst iPhone/Android challenger that RIM could have come up with, and one we wouldn’t mind having some time to play with.

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