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Press Release: Official AT&T BlackBerry Torch 9800 Availability and Pricing Announced; First Device with BlackBerry 6!

By Kevin Michaluk on 3 Aug 2010 11:14 am EDT
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AT&T BlackBerry Torch 9800 Announced!

It's a HAPPY DAY for BlackBerry users, especially those on AT&T. Today AT&T and Research In Motion have officially announced the BlackBerry Torch 9800, the first BlackBerry to feature a sliding form factor. The Torch 9800 offers users the best of both worlds with a full physical keyboard and touchscreen. The highly-anticipated BlackBerry 6 operating system also makes its debut on the BlackBerry Torch 9800, ushering in the next-generation of messaging and multimedia on BlackBerry. Read on for the full details!

Press Release

AT&T and Research In Motion Ignite Customers With The New BlackBerry TorchPress Release Title

BlackBerry Torch Smartphone First to Feature New BlackBerry 6

Combines New Touch Screen Experience with Easy-To-Use Keyboard and Rich WebKit Browser

First Smartphone to Support AT&T's Next Generation Messaging Experience, and First to Offer Locations Feature

DALLAS, TEXAS and WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 3, 2010) -

Joining forces to offer the first smartphone to feature the highly anticipated BlackBerry® 6 exclusively on the nation's fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T* (NYSE:T) and Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) today introduced the new BlackBerry® Torch™ 9800 smartphone. Adept for socially connected consumers and packed with the tools business customers love, the new handset is the world's first smartphone to combine a BlackBerry® keyboard with a full touch screen experience. Whether users choose to type out messages on the capacitive touch screen or easy-to-use BlackBerry keyboard, browse the Internet using pinch to zoom or fluidly navigate with the optical trackpad, the BlackBerry Torch allows them to communicate any way they want.

"We were the first to launch the BlackBerry solution in 1999 and have a rich history of innovation and collaboration with Research In Motion," said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "The two companies that brought the first BlackBerry smartphones to market have teamed up again with the new BlackBerry Torch, creating a true generational shift in hardware and operating system for this enormously popular service."

"This is one of the most significant launches in RIM's history and we are proud to introduce the new BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry 6 together with AT&T," said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-ceo, Research In Motion. "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."

BlackBerry 6

The BlackBerry Torch is the first BlackBerry smartphone to launch with BlackBerry 6, a new operating system that retains the familiar and trusted features that distinguish the BlackBerry brand while delivering a fresh, approachable and engaging experience that's powerful and easy to use.

BlackBerry 6 features a redesigned interface that seamlessly works with the touch screen and trackpad, includes expanded messaging capabilities with intuitive features to simplify the management of social networking and RSS feeds (Social Feeds), and provides integrated access to the BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™), Facebook®, Twitter™, MySpace™ and various instant messaging applications available on the BlackBerry Torch smartphone. Its enhanced multimedia experience rivals the best in the industry and includes a dedicated YouTube app and Podcasts app.

BlackBerry 6 also integrates a new and rich WebKit-based browser on BlackBerry Torch that renders HTML web pages (as well as HTML email) quickly and beautifully for a great browsing experience. It features tabs for accessing multiple sites simultaneously, pinch to zoom for easy navigation and an auto-wrap text zoom feature that can intelligently wrap text in a column while maintaining the placement of a page's key elements (simply double-tap on the BlackBerry Torch).

Universal search, always accessible from the Home Screen, allows users to search through email, messages, contacts, music, videos and more on the smartphone, as well as extend search to the Internet or to discover applications on BlackBerry App World™.

Advanced Messaging

Messaging has always been a core element of the BlackBerry smartphone experience and the BlackBerry Torch smartphone expands on RIM's popular messaging solutions with the support of AT&T's advanced messaging features for SMS and MMS. RIM's new Text Messages application is especially exciting for users who communicate most via SMS and MMS, providing support for AT&T's next-generation messaging experience, which includes group messaging with "reply all" functionality for up to 10 contacts. And for the first time, AT&T's platform includes a new Locations feature.

Locations lets users easily search for points of interest, businesses, and even the user's own location, and insert this information directly into a message, all without leaving the messaging application. Using group messaging and locations together, users can arrange to meet a group of friends easily by sending one message to all of them, discussing together where to meet and then sending a map – all in one threaded conversation. AT&T designed the service based on research that revealed customers want features that help facilitate social planning, improved message organization and location sharing.

Apps At Your Fingertips

After powering up the BlackBerry Torch smartphone for the first time, users will notice a set of pre-loaded icons which allow them to download and immediately begin using a variety of rich entertainment and social networking applications to access Bloomberg, ESPN, The Weather Channel and Slacker Radio content in addition to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and more. Also available is AT&T's Web Video Search, a unique new app that searches video content from over 70 major Internet video websites.

In addition to searching the Internet for video, the BlackBerry Torch smartphone also features more multimedia apps that let users download TV shows and watch live TV, as well as create video content and upload it to YouTube. The new Podcasts application makes it easy for users to find and manage audio and video podcasts.

Another application that puts a key function of a phone at your fingertips is Visual Voicemail, which benefits customers by allowing them to select the voicemails they want to hear first.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is also the first BlackBerry smartphone to include BlackBerry App World™ pre-installed, supporting carrier billing through AT&T, making it easier for customers to discover and purchase applications.

BlackBerry Torch Smartphone Features

  • Elegant styling, measuring approx. 4.4" (5.8" open) x 2.4" x .57" and weighing 5.68 ounces
  • 3.2" 360x480 capacitive touch screen display
  • 35 key full QWERTY backlit slide-out keyboard, designed to feel optimally balanced when opened for typing
  • Optical trackpad that makes navigation fast and smooth
  • Powerful 624 Mhz processor with 512 MB Flash memory
  • 4 GB built-in memory storage plus a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 32 GB cards; a 4 GB card is included giving users 8 GB of storage out-of-the-box
  • 5 MP camera with flash, continuous auto focus, image stabilization, scene modes, geo-tagging and zoom, as well as video recording at up to 640x480 resolution
  • Built-in GPS for location-based applications and geo-tagging
  • Wi-Fi® (802.11 b/g/n); qualifying smartphone customers can enjoy seamless connectivity to over 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots at no additional cost
  • 3.5mm stereo headset jack
  • Premium phone features, including voice activated dialing, speakerphone and Bluetooth® (2.1) with support for hands-free headsets, stereo headsets, car kits (including systems that support the Bluetooth Message Access Profile standard) and other Bluetooth accessories
  • New BlackBerry® Desktop Software 6 with integrated media sync for easily syncing music, photos and videos**. It also includes Wi-Fi Music Sync, a unique feature that allows users to view their entire iTunes® or Windows Media® Player music libraries from their BlackBerry smartphone, create and edit playlists as well as select music for download. When in range of their home Wi-Fi network (or via USB), the changes are synced with iTunes or Windows Media Player and the songs are automatically downloaded to the smartphone
  • Tri-band HSDPA (3G) and quad-band EDGE support for the option of voice service in more than 220 countries, data service in more than 195 countries and 3G connectivity in more than 125 countries, including Japan and South Korea
  • Removable, rechargeable 1300 mAhr battery that provides approximately 5.8 hours of talk time on 3G networks or 30 hours of audio playback or 6 hours of video playback

Pricing and Availability

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone will be available only for AT&T customers on August 12 in AT&T company owned retail stores and online at www.att.com/blackberrytorch, as well as Best Buy, Wal-Mart and RadioShack stores.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 will be available for $199.99 with 2-year service agreement on a qualifying rate plan and smartphone data plan required. New smartphone customers may choose from two AT&T monthly data plan options, $15 for 200 MB of wireless data or $25 for 2 GB. Enterprise and small business customers should contact their account representative for pricing details.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

AT&T imposes: a Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge of up to $1.25 to help defray costs incurred in complying with obligations and charges imposed by State and Federal telecom regulations; State and Federal Universal Service charges; and surcharges for government assessments on AT&T. These fees are not taxes or government-required charges.

**Certain music files may not be supported, including files that contain digital rights management technologies. Photo and video syncing is currently only available for Windows-based PCs.

Limited-time offer. Other conditions & restrictions apply. See contract & rate plan brochure for details. Subscriber must live & have a mailing addr. within AT&T's owned wireless network coverage area. Up to $36 activ. fee applies. Equipment price & avail may vary by mrk & may not be available from independent retailers. Early Termination Fee: None if cancelled in the first 30 days, but up to $35 restocking fee may apply to equipment returns; thereafter up to $325. Some agents impose add'l fees. Unlimited voice services: Unltd voice svcs are provided primarily for live dialog between two individuals. No additional discounts are available with unlimited plan. Smartphone Data Plan Requirement: Smartphones require a DataPlus (200MB) or DataPro (2GB) plan. If you exceed your initial data allowance, you will automatically be charged an additional $10 for each additional 1GB provided on DataPro or an additional $15 for each additional 200MB provided on DataPlus. All data allowances, including overages, must be used in the billing period in which the allowance is provided or they will be forfeited. An Enterprise Data Plan is required for corporate email, company intranet sites and business applications. For more details on Data Plans, go to att.com/dataplans. Offnet Usage: If your mins of use (including unltd svcs) on other carrier's networks ("offnet usage") during any two consecutive months or your data use during any month exceeds your offnet usage allowance, AT&T may at its option terminate your svc, deny your contd use of other carriers' coverage, or change your plan to one imposing usage charges for offnet usage. Your offnet usage allowance is equal to the lesser of 750 mins or 40% of the Anytime mins incl'd with your plan (data offnet usage allowance is the lesser of 24 MB or 20% of the KB incl'd with your plan). Sales tax calculated based on price of unactivated equipment. AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots- Based on non-municipal company owned and operated hotspots. A Wi-Fi enabled device required. Other restrictions apply. See www.attwifi.com for additional services, restrictions and locations. Visual Voicemail - Data plan required for AT&T Visual Voicemail. Data used in replying to and forwarding voicemail messages via SMS, MMS or email is counted against your data plan. Applicable data charges apply if data plan limits have been exceeded. International data charges apply to receiving, replying to and forwarding voicemail messages while roaming internationally.

49 comments

Brandon 8ch

I never realized how thin it was!

timerollson

That screen resolution... :(

Plazmic Flame

They could have made it at least 3.5 inch screen (it's 3.2 inches) and the screen resolution is only slightly bigger than my Bold 9000 that came out in 2008..... wtf man...

infamyx

Its using the exact same processor as the 9000 lol

Enjoy no OpenGL yet again /facepalm

FrankCM

I'm downloading the OS 6 simulator... I wanna try it!! :)

FrankCM

on the BlackBerry.com site, usual page. Look for "BlackBerry simulator"!

FrankCM

from here:

http://www.blackberry.com/developers/downloads/simulators/index.shtml

click on download a bb simulator
On the following page is the first one.

nemo

Bahahahaha...

same resolution as the Tour?

timerollson

Yeah... WTF RIM. Hopefully, they'll go all out on their Storm 3 in 2011.

I left BB for the iPhone but I'm not counting them out. It's hard to get excited for the 9800. I guess for people who are upgrading, this would be a cool device.

FrankCM

Actually they could be much better!!

Booie2k1

I'm not so sure its enough to bring me back from Android. I've wanted a phone with this form factor for a while now but I'm not sure OS6 is enough to drag me away from Android... will have to have a good play with this phone first!

ckeins

So we all wait for the Torch2 to come? ;-)

Despite the resolution it's a nice device. I hope it's coming to Vodafone Germany soon.

kirksucks

There won't be a torch2, they'll just update it and call it a Bold 9820 or something.

Verizon? stuck with my 9630 another year.

MondoB

Available on my birthday. Maybe it's a sign.

pharmacoholic

again....crappy processor (in what world is 624 MHz fast!)limited backwards compatibility (512 Mb cap)and small screen with crap resolution...RIM this is a joke

_StephenBB81

The Problem RIM is facing right now is that Qualcomm (Maker of the snapdragon) has come out with a high Mhz processor, but RIM doesn't partner with Qualcomm they partner with Marvell, it could be the same case as intel vs AMD in the early 2000's when AMD actually had faster processors, with lower Mhz unfortunately I can't find technical specs about Qualcomm or Marvell to compare if that is the same case here or if RIM needs to drop Marvell and go to Qualcomm.

the screen is huge compared to any other keyboard blackberry, just because it isn't comparable to the largest of touchscreen only phones doesn't make it small, the resolution leaves something to be desired, but isn't a break point for me.

ritzcrakca

how much more reso do u need?? this phone is gonna be siiick!!!

rpanicke

Some pretty shitty tech specs for RIM's new contender. The hardware is already just about obsolete...At this rate, I doubt I'll be getting another BB after the contract on my laggy 9700 is up

allargon

That hardware is like that of a low-end Android. Where's the GHz proc? Where's the widescreen or 720p screen? They caught up to early 2009. But, it's late 2010. Sigh.

The price is a bit high, too. It should be $100-150 on contract.

Dragondima

The Bold and Bold 9700 sold for 199.99. Even today that's their price. So it would only make sense to have it at the same price.

mckillio

720p screen? The iphone 4 has the highest res screen and it's not even 720p. I agree it should be a little bit better but damn, how close are you to your screen, 2 inches?

allargon

I want RIM to leapfrog the Androids and iPhones not catch up to them.

mckillio

Touche. But as a company, I'm sure their margins are a lot better because they don't leap frog the competition.

mckillio

Touche. But as a company, I'm sure their margins are a lot better because they don't leap frog the competition.

Agent00J

The tech is what I'd expect from RIM. So no surprises there. What really bothers me is the keypad. It's hard to judge based off images alone, but it looks tiny and uncomfortable - much like the 9700.

Time will tell, but so far I'm still on track to jump ship by year's end and join the Droid family.

_StephenBB81

My only complaint with this device thus far is the battery size

I question the numbers posted always as especially on touch screen devices they tend to be misleading,
Why a 1300mAhr? not a 1500? or 2300?

I think this will be a phone that will NEED the extended battery looks so pretty I wouldn't want to put it down!

mckillio

The battery life seems pretty good though. A denser battery would have weighed more and it already weighs more than the Storm.

dr_w

No HD recording, no HDMI out, no 4G capability (although early), processor is fairly small, Ram is 512 (c'mon thats an inch from whats out now), no wifi hotspot like the android, etc...

timerollson

$199.99 for a two-year contract? I think they're playing themselves with this one. They should at the max charge $149.99 for this. I don't think the price is justified for this device.

If I was a new customer choosing among high-end smart phones (and I'm assuming RIM is marketing this as their flagship for the moment), I don't think I'd want to pay that much for the Torch.

NalaniNoe

as an avid BB user, I cannot wait until the 9800 comes out. I have already called my ATT dealer and asked them to order me as I am going to get mine as soon as it comes in. As for those who love the IPHONES, why hate on the BBs? Continue to use the IPHONE and love it, and apparently wish you had a BB like the rest of us. It seems to me, that IPHONE users don't have enought "smarts" to use BBs.

francolasalsa

So this looks like it could kill the 3GS but nowhere close to the iPhone 4 . I left BB for iland after 4 years and 4 blackberries because it had become stale and obviously fallen behind the innovation curve. This does look promising but I've been burned by the storm early adoptee curve and don't think I'll be going down that route. I read an article a fewndays ago that said 50% of BB users would jump ship. They should do a study about how much would come back because judging by the comments quite a few former users have a huge soft spot in their heart for RIM ( like myself) that want them to succeed and come out with a killer phone so we can come back . This should stop/slow the bleeding but they still need to kick it up a few notches to take back market share. People are dead on in saying these specs are so 2009, for a device that needs to compete for the next 6 months to anyear these specs will be so it's not funny. Let's hope the software is a home run !

LayzieBone075

That's a lot...well anyways, any news on if T-Mobile is getting this phone? Haha

beri

"Compatibility with Existing BlackBerry Smartphones
BlackBerry 6 will debut on the new BlackBerry® Torch™ smartphone (announced today) available from AT&T on August 12 and it is also designed to run on select BlackBerry smartphones already in market. Subject to carrier certifications in the months ahead, the new OS is expected to be available for the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9700, BlackBerry® Bold™ 9650 and BlackBerry® Pearl™ 3G, as well as future BlackBerry smartphones."

mckillio

4GB built in memory, as in 4GB's for apps and such? Very impressed if so not to mention the 4GB microSD card that's included.

allargon

I doubt it. I think that's 4GB for multimedia. In fact it's mentioned in the release. 4GB for apps would be killer. It would be nice if OS6 extended application memory past the 512MB system memory. A 16GB SD card would end all my headaches.

mckillio

Crap. I have a 8900 and 256mb with over a dozen apps and I still have 105mb free, so 512mb is more than fine for me.

LCW

Are they forcing folks with unlimited data plans already onto the capped data plans? I.e. let's say you're on an iphone unlimited data plan right now, and you switch to a 9800, are you forced onto the 200MB or 2GB data plans? Or can you grand-father in the unlimited plan?

LCW

PS - Will AT&T stores have them on display already so we can actually play with it? Or will it be under glass? Hard to tell from the monolith pictures...

collide.six

Not only is this device under whelming so is RIM's App world. So I guess there perfectly mateched. Even if the Torch had the hardware to compete with todays competion I wouldn't want because of the lack of compelling apps.

AndresMor

I'm not entirely sure if likes me. Just if i was more careful

AndresMor

Or, i'm bitterly jealous b/c don't have a penny to buy me one

puguasoft

Everything looks great to me EXCEPT:

- 3.2” HVGA+ touch screen (480x360)

That's less then an inch (diagonal) improvement over the Bold 9700, and the resolution is the same! WTF?! Oh, and it's still less than the new Android devices sporting AMOLED, Super AMOLED, Super LCD, etc hi-res screens. RIM failed on this part, unfortunately.

HTC_Droid_EvO

They earned this nickname for a reason my friend :)

blkbryadict

Screw AT&T, what about T-MO?

jm357

When will the torch 9800 come to sprint??? I would love to get one! Right now i'm running the 8530 curve. Im mad that the o6 will not be running on the curve! :-(