Did you hear that RIM announced the new Torch 9800? My guess is probably not. New BlackBerry releases don’t get the kind of attention they once did when the media spoke about its addictive quality and nicknamed it
“CrackBerry”. Combine the falling mindshare with its release being in between the release of the Motorola Xoom and the iPad 2 and the release is practically a non-event except to BlackBerry fans.
As you can tell from the photo, the 9800 features both a full classic BlackBerry keyboard as well as a touch screen. It runs BlackBerry OS 6 and comes with RIM’s new WebKit based browser. This is the same engine that powers both Apple (iPhone/iPad) and Android based phones and tablets. It is the first BlackBerry to use this modern web browser engine.
So, when will this new Torch 9800 be available? Would you guess August 12? That’s right. Here were are in March and the 9800 will not be available until after the iPhone 5 if Apple follows their annual release cycle. Meanwhile, Nokia will probably be furiously putting finishing touches on their first Windows Phone based smartphone for release near the end of 2011 (or early 2012 if things don’t work out). So, the 9800’s release will be sandwiched between Apple and Nokia not to mention the various Android superphones and tablets that seem to make their way to the market every month or two.