RIM unveils BlackBerry Torch 9800 and BlackBerry 6 - RIM

Research In Motion (RIM) has today unveiled the sixth generation BlackBerry smartphone, the Torch 9800.

It features a 3.2-inch touch screen with a 360x480 resolution, but it also has a slide-out 35 key QWERTY backlit keypad, effectively matching the look and feel of rival smartphones on the market, while retaining the classic BlackBerry keypad experience.

It has a 624MHz processor, making it significantly inferior to that of the iPhone 4 and the dozens of more powerful Android phones, which have a 1GHz processor. It has 512MB of RAM, just matching that of the iPhone 4, but still less than some Android models, such as the HTC Desire.

The Torch has 4GB of built-in storage and a 4GB microSD card is also included, with expansion up to 32GB possible.

It is powered by a 1300 mAhr battery which will give roughly 5.8 hours of talk time on 3G, 30 hours of listening to music, or 6 hours of watching video.

Other standard features, like GPS, 3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth are also included.

The phone runs the new BlackBerry 6 operating system, which features a redesigned interface, advanced SMS and MMS messaging capabilities, and integrated acccess to key services such as Facebook and Twitter.

It also has a new WebKit-based browser designed to deliver faster loading of websites and a Universal Search feature to allow searching through any files stored on the phone from the Home Screen. It also comes with two new dedicated applications for Podcasts and Youtube.

The Torch will be available exclusively on AT&T's network, making up for its potential loss of exclusivity of the iPhone. AT&T was the original network to host the first BlackBerry when RIM ruled the smartphone market many years ago, but things have changed significantly since then, and while it may hope that this latest model becomes its torch-bearer, it seems unlikely it will be able to recover the ground it has lost to its rivals Apple and Google.

It will be available to AT&T customers on August 12 for $199.99 on a two-year contract.