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The critics are quick to call the death of the BlackBerry, but many reviewers are saying that the BlackBerry Torch — running the latest software — was a safe next step for the platform. It’s nothing revolutionary, but customers will be satisfied with the upgrade. “I view it as a big improvement over earlier, stodgy BlackBerry models….RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) is hardly dead or dying. In fact, the new phone and software are just the start of its plan to revitalize the BlackBerry franchise,” writes the WSJ’s Walt Mossberg.
CrackBerry.com lists what’s new and the old about the Torch:
New: “It’s the first and only slider BlackBerry. It’s the first BlackBerry to feature a ‘proper’ touchscreen (no SurePress clicking on the screen required). It’s the first BlackBerry to get the bump up to a 5 megapixel camera. It’s also the first BlackBerry device model to have BlackBerry 6, which ushers in a bunch of new features, including the new WebKit rendering engine.”
Old: “The chipset is the same as the BlackBerry Pearl 3G, the display is the same as the one found on the Storms, and the overall design is clearly in line with the rest of the BlackBerry lineup.”
Gizmodo calls the new BlackBerry 6 software “schizotastic:”
Examples: “Like Android, BlackBerry OS 6 will ostensibly support phones with and without touchscreens, which means that unlike iOS, Windows Phone 7 or webOS, it’s doomed from the outset to a lack of clarity…Dive into an options menu and it’s like being hurled back into Palm (NSDQ: PALM) OS circa 2005. It’s highly incongruous.”
PCMag says the Torch still does messaging best:
In a nutshell: “Messaging is still clearly at this phone’s core, though, unlike on flashier all-touch phones like the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPhone 4. That leaves the Torch a strong bet for those who type and chat all day, and still behind the leaders for those who prefer to game, surf the Web, or watch videos.”
CNET says BlackBerry enthusiasts will be happy:
The bottomline: Though performance could be better and it could stand for some hardware upgrades, the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 and BlackBerry OS 6 offer much-needed improvements to stay in step with the competition, and keep BlackBerry enthusiasts happy.