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.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

    Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Analyst (SSRS) - Essex - up to £60,000

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Report Analyst - Essex - up to £60,0...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Network Technician

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family run IT service busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Manager

    £32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family run IT service busi...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
    RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

    RuPaul interview

    The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head