Blackberry Torch 9800 vs. Blackberry 9700

Blackberry Torch 9800 vs. Blackberry 9700Blackberry Torch 9800

Before you completely dismiss Research In Motion’s newest Blackberry device you should wait and see it for yourself. You might be very surprised.

First of all, the just-announced Blackberry Torch 9800 is smaller in real life than you might imagine.

Think of it in terms of a device the same size as a Blackberry Curve. Small, thin and very, very pocketable. Which makes it even more remarkable that this is a slider phone. 3.2-inch touchscreen on the outside with a “Crackberry”-user-preferred slide open QWERTY keyboard on the inside. RIM calls it “the best of both worlds.” The best part is that they’ve shoe-horned all of this into a smartphone which weighs lees than 6 ounces.

As for the phone itself, the Torch 9800 is very similar to the Blackberry 9700. Think in terms of a 624MHz Marvel processor, quad-band GSM/EDGE world phone coverage as well as tri-band UMTS/HSDPA 3G band coverage, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-fi, Bluetooth 2.1, a 5-megapixel, auto-focus camera with flash, GPS/Blackberry Maps and geo-tagging, a 4GB memory card and lots, lots more.,

But the big deal here (in addition to the new hardware) is the new software. The Torch is the first of what will probably be many RIM devices to run on the Blackberry 6 operating system. In Blackberry-ese, the new OS adds: “context-sensitive pop-up menus for more relevant options, a new WebKit browser for faster and more robust performance, integrated social feeds including the ability to update multiple social networks from a single screen, engaging multimedia experience and Universal Search to uncover results throughout your smartphone – from Contacts, Apps, data and the Web”.

The coolest of all this seems to be the universal search. While similar to other super-smartphone search mechanisms, Blackberry 6 allows you to ask your Blackberry to look in every nook/cranny/program to find what you’re looking for. This will definitely be one of the first items we test thoroughly when we’re allowed to get our hands on an actual phone to test.

One item worth noting: Research in Motion has always taken pride in efficiency and design — they are experts in antenna placement — and in delivering the best user experience possible. That has always meant getting voice as well as data to the customer with as little delay as possible. They do that by “pushing” data to their devices using their own system. That’s why their simple 2G phones have always been fast – usually faster than many of their competitors’ 3G devices.

Think about that for a second. There are some experts who believe that Research in Motion’s system of delivering data is so advanced that end users might be able to purchase AT&T’s lower-priced monthly plan – rather than the more expensive data plan that’s necessary for the average iPhone user. AT&T probably won’t be printing that fact in their brochures.

Finally, battery efficiency. The 1300 mAh battery is said to deliver up to 5.5 hours of talk (GSM), 5.8 hours of talk (UMTS) and as much as 18 hours of standby per charge.

The other fact to remember is that Blackberries are popular with businesses for a reason. They can be locked-down and controlled better than any other smartphone on the market. That means important/private data can be kept safer on a Blackberry device. That has always been a major selling point – and continues to be one for the new Torch device.

The Torch 9800 goes on sale on August 12 at AT&T and will sell for $199.99 with a “2-year service agreement on a qualifying rate plan and data plan.”

Gary is a multiple Emmy Award-winner television producer and reporter as well as one of the world’s foremost experts on personal technology products.  He has covered major news stories - everyth more


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