Thoughts on the new Blackberry Torch 9800

Research In Motion announces their newest Blackberry device, the Blackberry Torch 9800. Unlike their traditional models or even their Blackberry Storm this new device has a touch screen with a slide out keyboard. In addition, RIM has also updated their OS which this new device is running. New hardware and software, this is RIM’s chance to stick it to Apple and Google.

I’ve been a Blackberry fan for a very long time. Fortunately for me I have two phones. A work phone and a personal phone. One being a Blackberry and the other is not. For the past few years I rocked the iPhone along with my trusty BB. Recently, I picked up an Android device and couldn’t be happier. With Android and all its beefy specs and nifty features I still can’t imagine myself without my BB. Its hard to explain, maybe its the tapping of a physical keyboard, the quick press of shortcuts to my apps and functions, the reliable push email, and the good ‘ol Blackberry messenger. Call me crazy, but if I could only have one device it would stick with my BB 9700. Sure, my Samsung Captivate looks awesome, it has boat loads of apps, and runs on an OS that has tons of potential. But for me it does what I need it to do and it does it well though there are some caveats

Let’s get to the point. This BB Torch looks great and I’m sure their new OS 6 is better than what any current BB owners have, but if this is the best RIM can do to compete with Apple, Google, and Microsoft then they are going to be in for a rude awakening. This new BB would have been a fantastic device if it was released a year and a half ago. But with the current releases of the new iPhone, Android phones, and upcoming Windows 7 phones RIM will just continue to play catch-up.

The BB 9800’s specs reads like a phone that was made 2 years ago. Some would argue that the phone doesn’t need a 1 ghz cpu, 4.3″ screen, or a retina display and that’s fine and these people can buy old cell phones off craigslist, but as the average consumer increases data consumption and rely more and more on their moble devices companies that meet those needs will thrive. And for those defending RIM and excuse them from releasing a medicore device probably don’t own their stock.

This new BB doesn’t add anything significant. A slight increase in RAM and a 3.2″ touch screen is anything but revolutionary and is barely considered an evolution. Why couldn’t RIM increase RAM or increase the screen’s resolution. A front facing camera isn’t necessary but it would have been nice.  Many people flocked to Android because it has lots of potential. iPhone users love their phone because it pushes the technological envelope and bakes it in an aesthetically pleasing design. And RIM seems content to just rehash their existing phones. If RIM wants to sell more phones and maintain their market share they need to be innovative and take some risks.

I can only hope this is just a start to bigger and better things to come from RIM. This device will sell well and all the Crackberry addicts will be getting one, including myself. This device won’t be a game changer for RIM, it’ll just keep them in the game for the time being.

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