RIM unveils touch-screen Torch

BlackBerry Torch combines slider keyboard and touch screen

Research in Motion can stop carrying a torch for developing an iPhone-like smart phone. The company today unveiled the BlackBerry Torch, a smart phone that runs on RIM’s BlackBerry 6 OS and combines a slide-out BlackBerry keyboard with a touch screen that has pinch-to-zoom capability, like an iPhone or an Android-based smart phone.

The Torch has some other features that are surprising to find in the business-oriented BlackBerry, such as a host of preloaded apps for news, weather, sports and movie information and social networking apps including Facebook and Twitter.

British newspaper The Guardian says that RIM hopes its latest phone will challenge the iPhone 4 and the many Android-based smart phones now available, such as the HTC Desire and the Droid Incredible.

The Torch also comes with a tabbed browsing feature that lets users access multiple Web pages at the same time. It also packs a 5 megapixel camera.

Available Aug. 12 from AT&T, the Torch offers Wi-Fi 802.11n network support. Users can choose from a $15 a month plan for 200M of data or $25 a month for 2G of data. The phone costs $200 with a two-year contract.

Apple continues to be the popular kid everybody loves to hate but also emulate. RIM is also reportedly working on a rival to the iPad that some are speculating with be called the BlackPad. The company has acquired the rights to the blackpad.com Internet domain.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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