Today, Research In Motion launched the BlackBerry Torch 9800 – RIM’s first slider smartphone. It features a capacitive touch screen, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and the new BlackBerry 6 operating system, which includes a WebKit browser.

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,” and provides integrated access to the BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other instant messaging applications.

According to RIM, new WebKit-based browser 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 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.

Key BlackBerry Torch features include:
• new form factor – Touch/QWERTY combination smartphone
• touch-sensitive trackpad located on the front face of the device
• BlackBerry App World pre-installed (supporting carrier billing through AT&T)
• 3.2" 360 x 480 capacitive touch screen display
• 5.0MP camera with flash, auto focus, image stabilization and geo-tagging
• Support for 3G networks (HSDPA)
• 512MB Flash memory, 4GB on-board memory, microSD/SDHC memory card slot (4GB card included, cards up to 32GB supported)
• Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
• Network Support
o GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
o HSPDA/UMTS: 800/850/1900/2100 MHz
• Approximately 4.4" x 2.4" x 0.57" (closed), 5.8" x 2.4" x 0.57" (open)

In the U.S, the BlackBerry Torch will be available for AT&T customers on August 12 for $199.99 with 2-year service agreement on a qualifying rate plan and data plan required.

“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,” he added.

Mike Lazaridis, president and co-ceo, Research In Motion, said: “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.”

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