New BlackBerry to counter Apple iPhone released

Research In Motion unveiled a new BlackBerry aimed at wooing consumers away from Apple's iPhone and other rivals, but analysts said the handset won't blow away the competition.

Even though the main features of the BlackBerry Torch, including a touchscreen and slideout keyboard, were well-known within the industry, investors registered their disappointment, driving RIM's Toronto-listed shares down 4 per cent.



The Torch will go on sale in the United States on August 12 at about the same price as an iPhone. The new BlackBerry uses a revamped operating system and has a faster and easier-to-use Web browser.



Underscoring RIM's intention to compete head to head with the iPhone, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company will launch the phone in the United States with AT&T Inc, the same carrier that has exclusive US rights to the iPhone.



Analysts at Tuesday's launch event in New York said the Torch does not represent a major advance but that its consumer-friendly features were enough to help RIM to catch up to rivals.



"RIM is playing catch-up. This is clearly the upgrade for BlackBerry users, but otherwise not a lot here is super exciting," Altimeter analyst Michael Gartenberg said.



The Torch does not represent a "leap forward", but will help RIM compete with rivals such as iPhone and Google Inc's Android software, used in phones from several vendors including Motorola Inc, said NPD analyst Ross Rubin.



"This gets the experience competitive again - if they can do that with the efficiency and stability that RIM is known for, then it's a positive," Rubin said.



Some analysts have said the Torch's success will depend how heavily it is promoted by AT&T, which said it collaborated with RIM on the device for thousands of hours.



AT&T described the device as the best BlackBerry ever but declined to say how much advertising the company will spend on the phone or how it would compare to the amount of money it spends on iPhone advertising.



"It will be as big a campaign as you've seen in some time," Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher told Reuters.



BlackBerry's nearly air-tight encryption has come under scrutiny in several overseas markets recently. The United Arab Emirates threatened on Sunday to ban some BlackBerry services unless RIM gives it access to encrypted messages. India's Economic Times reported that RIM will allow Indian security authorities to monitor BlackBerry services.

RIM Chief Technology Officer David Yach declined to comment on discussions with specific governments.

"I believe they'll have trouble pulling the trigger to shut down BlackBerry," Yach said. "Most governments in the world rely on BlackBerry."

While the BlackBerry has long been the gold standard for corporate and government customers because of its speedy, secure email service, critics said it needs a big overhaul to expand its popularity beyond business customers.

One of the new features RIM touted is the ability to search any application, media content or contact by typing a word on in Torch's "universal search" function.

BlackBerry Torch users can type messages on the screen or a slide-out keyboard. It comes with a 5-megapixel camera with a flash and a built-in GPS for location-based applications.

The new BlackBerry 6 operating system also offers an inbox where users can access updates from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in the same place as their emails.

"It's a really special product because so much new goodness has been added to it." said Mike Lazaridis, RIM's president and co-chief executive.

The August launch was earlier than some analysts expected.

"I'm glad to see they got it out sooner rather than later," said Nick Agostino at Mackie Research Capital. RIM's success will depend on positive industry reviews and adoption by developers of applications, he said.

The Torch's success could also hinge on RIM's ability to convince software developers to create applications for the device. Analysts say a big part of the iPhone's appeal is the huge choice of applications that it has to offer.

"Developers want to go where the consumers are and consumers want to go where the developers are. RIM is going to have to tell a very compelling story to attract the first batch of developers," he said.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

    £24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

    Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam