BlackBerry Torch smartphone to take on Apple’s iPhone

August 4th, 2010 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook London, Aug 4 (IANS) The makers of BlackBerry have unveiled a new smartphone with a touchscreen and slideout keyboard that it hopes will fend off competition from Apple’s iPhone.
The BlackBerry Torch will go on sale in the US Aug 12 for $199.99 (Rs.9,200) with a two-year contract with AT&T. The new smartphone was unveiled in New York Tuesday.

The device uses a new operating system and has a faster and easier-to-use web browser, its manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) said at a press conference, reports the Daily Mail from the US.

The Canadian firm hopes that the consumer-friendly features could help BlackBerry catch up with the iPhone as well as smartphones that uses Google’s Android operating system such as Motorola’s Droid.

But analysts have warned that it does not raise the bar enough to truly challenge Apple’s position as a leader.

The launch comes as BlackBerry’s security measures have come under scrutiny after Saudi Arabia announced that it is banning Blackberry messaging from Friday.

The United Arab Emirates threatened Sunday to ban some BlackBerry services unless RIM gives it access to encrypted messages.

While BlackBerry has long been the gold standard for business users because of its speedy, secure email service, critics said it needs a big overhaul to expand its popularity beyond business customers.

BlackBerry Torch users can type messages on the screen or a slide-out keyboard. It comes with a 5-megapixel camera with a flash and a built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) for location-based applications.

The new BlackBerry 6 operating system integrates access to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter with its BlackBerry Messenger service.

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