BlackBerry stock sinks as new device is no iPhone 4 ‘killer’

August 4th, 2010 - 12:36 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Aug 4 (IANS) Less-than-glowing first reviews of the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 launched Tuesday by Research In Motion Ltd (RIM) to catch up with Apple’s iPhone 4 sank company shares more than four per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

RIM’s troubles over security concerns also deepened Tuesday when Saudi Arabia reportedly banned BlackBerry from this week. The United Arab Emirates has already announced to ban BlackBerry email, messaging and web services from Oct 11 on the grounds that RIM smart phones send users’ data to its centres overseas.

The slump in RIM shares to $56.77 was triggered as the new smartphone didn’t actually turn out to be an iPhone 4 “killer”, analysts said.

Described as more of a catch-up attempt by RIM, the new BlackBerry Torch 9800, launched in New York at a joint event with its carrier AT&T, is the Canadian company’s first slider smart phone also featuring its new BlackBerry 6 operating system and Web browser.

Offering both a 3.2-inch touchscreen and a sliding keyboard, the smart phone is also be the first device from RIM to have the new BlackBerry App World store - with about 7,000 apps - pre-installed.

The new operating system will offer quicker and better browsing experience and universal search, RIM claimed.

“Following extensive research and development to address consumer needs and wants, we are delivering a communications, browsing and multimedia experience that we think users will love, and we are thrilled to debut BlackBerry 6 on the amazing new BlackBerry Torch smartphone,” said RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis at the launch.

Weighing 5.8 ounces, the new smart phone features a 5-megapixel camera with flash, 4GB of internal memory with an additional 4GB microSD card slot, integrated 3G, GPS, Wi-Fi N, and Stereo Bluetooth.

“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,” beamed the RIM boss.

But the new device didn’t turn out to be a ‘iPhone 4′ killer, according to many analysts. Barring its new operating system and a sliding keyboard, the smart phone offers very little over iPhone 4 which too features a 5-megapixel camera as well as an easy-to-use browser.

In fact, with its two offerings of 16GB and 32 GB memory, iPhone 4 beats the new BlackBerry device which offers a total of just 8GB memory.

Moreover, compared to the BlackBerry App World which offers just 7,000 apps, Apple’s App Store offers a whopping 250,000 applications.

Facing onslaught from iPhone 4 and Google Android devices, RIM has launched the new device to expand its base from business clients to consumers and young users. As RIM said at Tuesday’s launch, the new BlackBerry is “adept for socially connected consumers and packed with the tools business customers love…”

The new BlackBerry device will be available in the US market from August 12.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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