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CIO - The first BlackBerry smartphone with both a traditional, full-QWERTY BlackBerry keyboard and a touch-screen for navigation, the Torch 9800, is expected to be released in the United States by wireless carrier AT&T on Thursday, August 12 for $199.99 along with a new, two-year service agreement.
In addition to its QWERTY/touch-screen combination, the new BlackBerry slider is notable for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it's the first smartphone to run RIM's new mobile OS, BlackBerry 6. What follows is a quick list of 10 things BlackBerry enthusiasts and gadget geeks should know about Research In Motion's (RIM) latest, and possibly greatest, offering.
For more BlackBerry Torch 9800 launch coverage, check out "BlackBerry Torch 9800 Slider (AT&T) Unboxing Video" and "RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800: A Visual Tour."
New BlackBerry Battery: F-S1
The battery that powers the BlackBerry Torch 9800 is a completely new model, not found in any other current BlackBerry device, the 1300mAh "F-S1" battery. It's slightly smaller than the 1550mAh battery that ships with RIM's popular Bold 9700 smartphone, and as such, its battery life is a bit shorter. (The Bold 9700 gets about 6 hours of 3G talk-time compared to the Torch's 5.8 hours, according to RIM.)
No Speedy HSPA 7.2 for BlackBerry Torch
While the brand new BlackBerry Torch 9800 is a 3G device, it does not support HSPA data transfer speeds up to 7.2Mbps, like many other modern high-end smartphones, according to reports. Rather, the Torch supports HSPA speeds up to 3.6Mbps. In fact, no current BlackBerry smartphones support HSPA 7.2.
Relatively Rapid Boot-up Process for BlackBerry 6 OS
Ask any BlackBerry user what they think of RIM's boot-up or restart time in BlackBerry OS 5.0, and you'll very likely get some version of the same answer: It takes WAY too long.
Thankfully, RIM seems to have made progress in this area with BlackBerry 6; the Torch with OS v22.214.171.124 rebooted in less than a fifth of the time it took my Bold 9700 on OS 126.96.36.1994 to restart. (Note: My Bold has many more applications installed than my Torch, and that no doubt affects start-up time. But I can still say with certainty that the BlackBerry 6 reboot process is much faster than BlackBerry 5.)
Still No Active Apps on Media Card, But...
BlackBerry users have longed for additional space to store applications on their devices for years, since that storage is restricted to a relatively small portion of the BlackBerry memory, called "application memory." BlackBerry App World, RIM's mobile software shop, lets users "archive" applications for storage on media cards, but those apps must be "restored" and reinstalled on their handsets to work. In other words, BlackBerry users are able to launch only the applications that are stored within their app memory.
The bad news: This fact still holds true, and BlackBerry Torch 9800 users only have 512MB of application memory to store their apps, among other system software. You can still archive apps on your media card, but again, you can't use the software until it's reinstalled.