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RIM Looks to New Blackberry Torch to Rival Apple iPhone

Research in Motion
Updated: 4:15 ET As expected, Research in Motion introduced earlier today its latest BlackBerry, the Torch, a touch-screen phone that is expected to rival Apple's iPhone and other smartphones.
Research in Motion
AT&T will be the exclusive carrier for the new phone, which will cost $199.99 with a 2-year service agreement.

This is the first RIM device to launch using the company's new operating system, BlackBerry OS 6. It also features a revamped Web browser, putting it on a stronger footing with other Web-centric smartphones. It also features a slide-out keyboard.

The company hopes the latest product introduction can help recapture lost market share in the face of strong consumer demand for Android devices as well as the iPhone. In the first quarter of the year, RIM's worldwide share of the smartphone market fell to 19.4 percent from 20.9 percent a year ago, according to market researcher IDC.

Josh Lowensohn of CNET adds:

During the press conference about the device, RIM's CTO David Yach was keen to note that the BlackBerry 6 OS will work with all previous BlackBerry applications. The company is also releasing new APIs that will let developers build BlackBerry 6 OS features into their apps, such as integration with the new system search.

While there was no support for Adobe Flash announced, the new Webkit browser supports HTML5, which has been a selling point by Apple and Google on their mobile devices.

On the hardware side, the phone features a 3.2-inch diagonal capacitive touch screen with a 480x360 (HVGA+) resolution, and 4GB of built-in memory and 512MB of Flash memory. That can also be expanded up to 32GB through the device's MicroSD/SDHC card slot. There is a 5-megapixel camera with a flash. RIM has also built in an image stabilizer--something few smartphones have. Additionally the camera software supports geotagging with the phone's built-in GPS unit, as well as autofocus.

Other notable specs include 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, a quad-band antenna, 18 days of standby on GSM, 30 hours of music playback with the built-in media player, and 6 hours of video playback--all with a removable battery.