BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860: 5 things you should know

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BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones

I’m happy to tell you about two new BlackBerry® 7 OS smartphones announced today, the all-touch BlackBerry® Torch™ 9850 and 9860 smartphones. #TeamBlackBerry members in North America will be able to purchase the BlackBerry Torch 9860 smartphone from AT&T, Rogers, Telus and Bell, and the BlackBerry Torch 9850 smartphone from Sprint and U.S. Cellular. For more details on pricing and international availability, make sure to check out our BlackBerry Torch product page or contact your local carrier.

To ensure you have our patented Inside BlackBerry insight into these sweet all-touch BlackBerry 7 OS smartphones, I tapped Product Managers Sangita and Troy to list the 5 things you need to know about the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860. Take it away, Sangita and Troy!

1. The all-touch BlackBerry Torch has a screen built for everything

With a 3.7” inch touch screen at a WVGA (800×480) resolution with 253 DPI (“dots per inch”), the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 have the biggest BlackBerry® smartphone screens ever. These all-touch screens provide a sharp and crisp viewing experience to combine everything BlackBerry devices are known for – performance, security and reliability – with new user features like augmented reality apps and improved web browsing and multimedia experiences.

Personally, I love the BlackBerry Torch smartphone screen most for browsing the web with the next generation BlackBerry 7 browser. My news sites, shopping sites and my daily obsession, tech and lifestyle blogs, all render fast and look great on that big, beautiful screen. Of course using BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphone touch screens to pan, zoom and scroll through my favorite websites is easy as well.

One design element to note with the all-touch BlackBerry Torch screen: we designed the face of the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones to ‘fall over’ the device edge (something we call ‘The Waterfall’ internally), which lengthens the screen to provide a visual experience that works in landscape or portrait orientation.

2. The new BlackBerry Torch smartphone design is sculpted for touch

Our design goal with the all-touch BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones was to create a stylish look that sets the product apart in a field filled with boxy devices. The seamless front lens with ‘Waterfall’ ends offers a great visual experience and the sculpted back provides a perfect ergonomic fit, regardless of whether it’s used as a traditional phone (in portrait orientation) or like a gaming console or web browser (in landscape orientation).

Though there are many layers to the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones design, they are integrated and flow one into the other. For example, the buttons on the side of the smartphone are simple to find with your fingers and provide quick access volume, mute and camera functionality, but are understated, so as not to interrupt the design. Another example would be the back housing of the BlackBerry Torch smartphone, which dips down to fit in the camera lens and flash, without impacting its form and feel in the palm of your hand.

Engineering the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones to meet this vision wasn’t easy, and there were a number of occasions where it appeared that we might have to trade-off form for function. But our development teams rose to the challenge, and in the end, have delivered a product that is both aesthetically pleasing and incredibly functional for both personal and professional use.

BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 keypad

3. The new BlackBerry Torch smartphone evolves the all-touch experience

We knew when designing the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones that the touch screen user interface (“UI”) would have to be both refined and robust enough to support an all-touch device (it would be pretty hard to write an email otherwise, Ed.). Many improvements and enhancements have been made to the touch screen UI in the BlackBerry 7 OS that the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones take full advantage of. These improvements vary from minor adjustments of touch sensitivity based upon screen location to redesigning the layout of the virtual keyboard for easier texting (I personally love the fact that symbols and numbers are now combined under one key). In addition, the predictive text algorithms have also been optimized to provide fewer, more targeted word choices for faster communications.

All these improvements combine holistically to ensure an efficient and intuitive experience when using the BlackBerry Torch smartphone, whether you’re BBM™ chatting with a friend or playing the latest game.

(YouTube link for easy mobile viewing)

4. The all-touch BlackBerry Torch smartphone is packed to the gills with new features, including an HD camera and Magnetometer

In addition to the large and crisp screen, the all-touch BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones have many hardware features new to BlackBerry smartphones, including an HD camera and magnetometer (also known as a “digital compass”). These features aren’t just for show, but allow BlackBerry smartphone users to create, consume and share great content on their device. Here are a few examples:

Camera – The BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphone cameras supports HD recording at 720p to capture stunning videos to view on your BlackBerry smartphone, computer or HDTV. But my favorite feature has to be the 5MP, zero-shutter lag photo camera. I have a five-month-old son and my BlackBerry Torch smartphone (which is always with me) has been the perfect tool for me to capture those special moments. The ability to upload these photos from within the Camera app with a few clicks to Facebook® so I can virtually instantly share these moments with friends and family turns the BlackBerry Torch into something more than a smartphone for me.

Magnetometer – Combined with the Camera app and GPS, the magnetometer or digital compass on the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones has enabled a new class of “augmented reality” applications on the BlackBerry platform. One example is the Wikitude augmented reality browser, which will be available on the BlackBerry App World™ storefront at launch. The Wikitude browser combines real and virtual worlds via the Camera viewfinder to provide immediate and relevant data about one’s surroundings. One great feature of the Wikitude browser is its integration with BBM 6. This (opt-in) feature allows you to see the location of your BBM 6 contacts in real-time and spontaneously arrange to meet for coffee if you happen to be in the same ‘hood. See the video above for an example.

BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphone

5. The new BlackBerry 7 OS powers the all-touch BlackBerry Torch smartphone

Together with the powerful hardware found in the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphone, the new BlackBerry 7 OS offers a variety of performance and usability enhancements resulting in a truly wonderful user experience. Annu plans to talk about BlackBerry 7 in more detail in an upcoming post, so we will highlight one specific aspect of BlackBerry 7: something we call ‘Liquid Graphics’.

From the ground up, the software architecture of BlackBerry 7 has been redesigned to maximize the use of hardware acceleration and graphical fidelity. This optimization allows for rich graphics, smooth animations and a fluid touch experience. Liquid Graphics touches much of the features discussed above, from the new BlackBerry browser to the all-touch UI to 3rd party applications like the Wikitude browser or 3D games. Combined with the large screen, Liquid Graphics provides a responsive and striking graphical experience for BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphone users.

Please post a comment and let Troy and Sangita know what you think of the new all-touch BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 smartphones, and don’t hesitate to ask questions about each device!

About Douglas Soltys

Word Czar. Web 7.0 (in beta). Blogs and tweets and wonders.

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