Well, it's official! We've seen it. The Blackberry Torch is the very first device to use the brand new version of the more than 20+ year old mobile platform. Check out all the details inside...
So the new phone itself, its form factor, doesn't appear to bring anything too revolutionary. It's a phone that slides down vertically to reveal a Qwerty keyboard, which is a bit unique, but there's
Blackberry 6 is designed to look familiar to previous versions of the operating system, but it adds a brand new home screen and a lot of new functionality.
"At first glance, it still looks very much like a Blackberry," said RIM's VP of user experience during an event today in New York. But here are some of the new features:
- Enhanced notification "previews," which makes it easier to see what exactly is in that e-mail when you see an icon in your notification bar.
- Easier way to organize and browse through pictures and video
- Geo-location automatically names pictures taken by the city in which they were taken
- New podcast app
- "Universal search," which of course the Droid has had for several months now.
- One of the neatest features we saw was in how Blackberry 6 browses the Web. It has something called "auto wrap text zoom," which automatically optimizes the text size on any website
- Guess what, iPhone? Blackberry 6 has hugely flexible multitasking as well.
- "WiFi Music Sync" is also pretty interesting: instantly connect to entire library of music pulled from any WiFi device.
- Perhaps the biggest addition is the way in which Blackberry 6 integrates social networking feeds. It's one app that shows everything from Facebook, Google, Buzz, Twitter and more. Clicking on any feed item opens up that social networking app and goes directly to the item that was clicked on. RSS feeds can also be added and viewed in the same kind of way, in a separate window.
As the company's CEO pointed out, AT&T was the first to bring Blackberry Messenger to the market. Their storied relationship together has been strong for years so today's announcement makes sense. Over 30 million Blackberries have been sold through AT&T.
"Hundreds of thousands" of combined hours in developing and implementing the new platform and both companies hope that it will keep each of them relevant in a post-iPhone world, because they both obviously have a very vested interest in standing out against the iPhone.
See also these PR photos of the new BlackBerry Torch.