The new Torch 9860 is tasked with reversing that situation, while at the same time going head-to-head with the likes of the iPhone 4S, Galaxy Nexus (Prime) and Nokia Lumia 800. That’s quite some hill to climb no matter which way you look at it.
Thankfully the headline spec gives cause for optimism. Up front there is a 3.7in 480 x 800 screen and inside a 1.2GHz single-core CPU with 768MB of RAM. On-board storage is a reasonable 4GB and there is a hot-swappable SD card slot to add a further 32GB.
Share your life in an instant. Whether music or memories or simply the moment, the BlackBerry® Torch™ 9860 smartphone has been designed with you in mind. Listen, compare, browse, find and share. Talk or just chat. Compete, don’t just play.
Smooth and Swift Navigation
Everything you touch comes to life through the ultra fluid and responsive all-touch screen. Jump start your browsing experience.
Enjoy crisper colours, instant response, fluid animations and smooth navigation. Capture HD videos, swipe through your applications, zoom in on your favourite photos and websites, and test your games skills in dazzling high resolution. Share it all in an instant.
Augmented RealityWikitude World Browser™ on your BlackBerry Torch 9860 smartphone allows you to discover your surroundings in a completely new way.
Using your HD camera, simply hold up your BlackBerry Torch 9860 smartphone and explore what’s around you in Augmented Reality. See places, points of interests and even your BBM™ contacts through your camera – a truly engaging and immersive experience.
3D Gaming and BBM IntegrationTurn your all-touch screen into a games console when you enjoy some downtime with games like 3D Rollercoaster Rush™ Jurassic 2.
Set a trend when you Invite your BBM contacts to check out what games you’re playing. Don’t forget to share your high scores and achievements via BBM.
To my eyes, it’s pretty a handsome beast with the polished black fascia surrounded by a smart chrome band that loops around the back at the top and bottom. Although it uses a plain TFT LCD rather than AMOLED panel the screen is bright and crisp enough to satisfy most users and is no more susceptible to fingerprints than the iPhone4S.
Show and share in HD
Capture life’s greatest moments in high definition video and play back your adventures for your friends. Snap away like a pro and with one click share your masterpieces on your favourite social networks.
Get closer to your friends
Get the latest news from everyone who matters to you with social apps like Facebook and Twitter. Connect with your friends instantly and receive real-time chat notifications even if you’re not logged in. Create a favourites list from all your social networks and never miss a party or the latest gossip again.
The BlackBerry 7 operating system’s UI may lack the polish of iOS or the adaptability of Android but it still does the job. Drag the bottom menu bar up and you can can access all your apps and even reorder them.
Swipe left or right and you can navigate to five other trays so you can group apps together for convenience.
The problem is that when the apps tray is collapsed the screen is empty. Imagine Android without widgets or homescreen shortcuts and you get the idea.
You can advance the apps tray to show either one, two, three or four lines of icons but a selection of background widgets would make BB7 look a lot more funky.
Tap the status bar at the top of the screen and you can instantly access all your connectivity settings while notifications appear in the bar below. The notifications bar also lets you access the sound control panel and search engine.
BlackBerry Torch 9860 Specification
Is the BlackBerry Torch 9860 good enough to arrest RIM’s decline? On balance I’d say, yes. It’s fast, well made and mercifully free of dependency on the likes of Zune or iTunes.
The UI may not be the last word in cool but it works well enough and media file support is impressive. The lack of third party apps and the absence of Flash are enough to ensure BB7 won’t lure me away from Android but it no longer feels like switching would be an excessive compromise to gain access to BlackBerry messaging services.