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Summary:

RIM held a major press event in NYC this morning to unveil the new BlackBerry Torch and officially launch BlackBerry 6. This is a big roll-out for the future of the BlackBerry, so let’s take a look to see what the web is saying.

BlackBerry Torch

Research in Motion (RIM) held a major press event in New York City this morning to unveil the new BlackBerry Torch and officially launch the BlackBerry 6 operating system. The event was held jointly with AT&T, which is the carrier selling the new Torch. Kevin Tofel live blogged the event in real time as it unfolded, so take a look for a recap of the announcements by RIM and AT&T. This is a big roll-out for the future of the BlackBerry, so we’ve rounded up a variety of opinions about the launch and whether or not it will help BlackBerry stop its market share slide.

Bloomberg: “The operating system is “a very good upgrade to OS 5 as it fixes its browser and has a lot of good features,” said Ken Dulaney, an analyst at researcher Gartner Inc. in San Jose, California. “But it doesn’t have the look and feel of an Android or Apple operating system and I’m not sure it will achieve the goal of taking volume away from them.””

PC World: “Even BlackBerry addicts, though, can become frustrated with a lack of innovation, and become increasingly envious of the features and functionality available on other smartphone platforms. The BlackBerry Torch lets companies maintain the investment in a BlackBerry infrastructure, while also meeting the demand of BlackBerry users jealous of what the iPhone and Android are capable of.”

Laptop Magazine: “Based on our early impressions, RIM has probably done enough to keep a fair share of BlackBerry loyalists around, but we’re not convinced the combination of the Torch hardware and the new BlackBerry 6 OS will make those already interested in devices like the Evo 4G, Droid X, Captivate, and iPhone 4 from thinking twice.”

Folks on Twitter were  following the announcements with bated breath, and paint a telling picture of the next version of the operating system and the new BlackBerry Torch.

  • Gartenberg. Blackberry Torch appears loaded with crapware on the home screen. Thanks ATT.
  • JoannaStern. Blackberry OS 6 seems to have what it needs to keep the diehards, like myself, in place. Not sure it has the sex appeal to attract, however.
  • aulia. Now that it’s official, I played with the BlackBerry Torch last weekend, OS 6 felt like Android. Some say like Palm OS. Decent but not wow.

The initial impressions of the BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry 6 are very consistent. The new OS is a nice improvement over previous BlackBerry OS versions, but is much like iOS and Android in look and feel. The new Torch and OS is likely going to make BlackBerry fans happy, but may not be enough to attract new customers to the fold.

Related GigaOM Pro Research (sub req’d): To Ship or Not to Ship — Product Launch in the Smartphone Era

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  1. uhh the design looks about a decade old now — seriously RIM – get it together… dont think this saves them..

  2. The new interface is pretty good and the form factor is certainly useful, but that low screen rez may wind up being a pisser on the whole package. Not bad, but I’m not sure if “not bad” is gettin’ it done these days.

  3. I think the unfortunate lack of commercial success with the Palm Pre so far (despite the acclaimed WebOS) shows that this form factor — a hardware keyboard coupled with a (relatively) small touchscreen simply does not make for a compelling proposition for today’s customers. The Palm Pre’s screen is 3.1″, the new Torch is 3.2″.

    By comparison, the iPhone is 3.5″ and new Android devices go up from there from 3.7″ to 4″ to 4.3″. I and many consumers love a good hardware keyboard, but when push comes to shove, it’s the size of the screen that offers the most impulse-buy “wow” factor and results in the keyboard being an afterthought.

  4. Quite a coincidence that around the same time that RIM is coming out with a more consumer-friendly BlackBerry 6, this news of the United Arab Emirates BlackBerry ban also broke. It’s like RIM introducing this prettier product while reminding enterprise that RIM is rock-solid on its data security design.

    From MSNBC http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38538555/ns/technology_and_science-wireless/
    “generally strong security features — just ask the United Arab Emirates, which banned it in recent days because it can’t decrypt BlackBerry messages”

    And there was that Blackberry mention by Obama on the View a couple of days ago.

    Borrowing from another ad, that Blackberry, it’s not a Tiara-Wearing Digitally Clueless Beauty Pageant Queen

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