Announcing the BlackBerry Torch 9800

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Today, I am thrilled to introduce the world’s first smartphone with a BlackBerry® keyboard and full touch screen – the BlackBerry® Torch™ 9800.

It comes with the new BlackBerry 6 operating system and there is a lot to be excited about. BlackBerry 6 has something for everyone and personally, I am particularly enjoying the new universal search and auto-wrap text zoom features.

We spent a lot of time talking with customers, testing and re-testing the software to make sure we could deliver the new features users want without losing any important aspects of the user experience that our customers already know and love. BlackBerry 6 delivers a stunning visual design and the teams here have done an incredible job implementing the amazing array of enhancements, including our new WebKit-based web browser which was first previewed at MWC earlier this year.

With the new BlackBerry Torch smartphone, we also believe our hardware team has delivered the best combined touch-qwerty experience available, seamlessly incorporating our signature BlackBerry keyboard and precision trackpad in a striking design that simply feels great in your hand. One of the things I love the most about the BlackBerry Torch design is the way it allows me to easily transition between using the touch screen, trackpad and keyboard interfaces. I can switch between them and interact with the handset and applications in a very natural way.

The BlackBerry Torch is also the first BlackBerry smartphone to ship with our new web browser and we invested a substantial amount of time and effort to engineer a WebKit-based browser that can operate quickly, beautifully and efficiently. In fact, Peter Rysavy today released a new study reporting on the efficiency of the BlackBerry 6 Browser with respect to data usage. We continue to believe that efficiency is an important advantage for our customers and an imperative for the wireless industry.

BlackBerry 6 is scheduled to be first introduced to the market with the BlackBerry Torch on August 12, but I know many of you are also wondering about support for existing BlackBerry smartphones. I am happy to report that BlackBerry 6 will be available in the months ahead (pending carrier certifications) on some of our leading smartphones, including the BlackBerry® Pearl™ 3G 9100, BlackBerry® Bold™ 9650 and BlackBerry® Bold™ 9700.

At RIM we have a long history of building groundbreaking technology, and we are passionate about our products – each day, thousands of RIM employees are focused on enhancing our software, services and smartphones in order to continue meeting your changing wants and needs. The launch of the BlackBerry Torch with BlackBerry 6 is one of the most significant launches in our history and this amazing new smartphone brings together many of RIM’s core strengths into one fluid and superior user experience.

I hope you will be as delighted with the BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry 6 as we are, because we are very proud of these accomplishments and because we really do love what we do.

About Mike Lazaridis

Mike Lazaridis is President and Co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), and is known in the global wireless community as a visionary, innovator, and engineer of extraordinary talent. He founded RIM while a student at UW, and is responsible for product strategy, research and development, product development, and manufacturing. Mike is also a leader in his community and a passionate advocate for education and scientific research.

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