BlackBerry maker RIM has announced plans to launch five new smartphones which will run on BlackBerry OS 7.
After announcing 2,000 job cuts, RIM is placing its hopes on these devices to catapult it over Apple and Android to gain the top smartphone maker position.
The five phones include Blackberry Bold QWERTY keypad phone 9900 and 9930, BlackBerry Torch 9800 with an all-touch display and a sliding QWERTY keypad, and Torch 9850 and 9860 all-touch smartphones.
The new OS 7 is not a QNX-based OS which is featured in its PlayBook tablet but is a BlackBerry OS 6 upgrade as a stop-gap arrangement until QNX arrives on BlackBerry phones.
Out of the five models announced three are merely CDMA versions of the GSM phones.
The new phones from BlackBerry are up against a slew of Android phones which sport superlative specifications like Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Sensation and Motorola Photon. Until Apple launches its elusive iPhone 5, RIM's hands are full as it attempts to take on the Android brigade.
It will be worth an exercise to compare one of the BlackBerry launches, the BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860, which is an all-touch phone, with Samsung Galaxy S2 which is the best of the Android lot, to gauge whether RIM has done enough to stay in the race.
Here is a comparison between BlackBerry Torch 9850 and Samsung Galaxy S2:
The all-new BlackBerry Torch 9860 features a 3.7-inch WVGA display with 800x480 screen resolution. Samsung Galaxy S2 sports a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display with 800X480 display.
BlackBerry Torch 9860 weighs 4.76oz and is 0.45-inch thick which makes it look larger in comparison to Samsung Galaxy S2's 4oz weight and 0.33-inch thickness.
The Galaxy S2 is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Orion processor while Torch 9850 runs on 1.2GHz Qualcomm 8655 processor.
BlackBerry Torch 9860 optimizes on 768MB RAM and offers 4GB internal memory expandable to 32GB. Galaxy S 2 has 1GB RAM and comes in 16/32 GB internal memory configurations.
The phone from BlackBerry features a 5MP rear-camera which offers 720p video capture capability while the Galaxy S 2 has an 8MP camera which offers 1080p video capture feature. Galaxy S2 also features a front-facing 2MP camera for video chat which is missing in Torch 9850.
The all-new Torch 9860 runs on the upgraded BlackBerry OS 7. RIM describes the new OS 7 as an OS that offers "significantly faster, more fluid web browsing experience" and "delivers browsing results that are up to 40 percent faster than BlackBerry 6 based smartphones and up to 100 percent faster than BlackBerry 5 based smartphones." Samsung Galaxy S2 features the smartphone specific Android 2.3 or Gingerbread. Samsung has its custom made TouchWhiz 4.0 UI running atop Gingerbread.
The GSM-based Torch 9860 has a 1230mAh lithium-ion battery which gives a talktime of 6.8 hours on 3G while Samsung Galaxy S2 features a Li-lon 1650 mAh battery which returns a talktime of 9 hrs on 3G.
The all-new Torch 9860 however does not include the in-built NFC capability which its cousins Bold 9900 and 9930 showcase. Samsung Galaxy S II Ion the other hand features NFC-based mobile payment feature.
Other features which Torch 9860 sports are the most recent release of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM 6), a premium version of Documents To Go which offers users powerful document editing features as well as a native PDF document viewer and BlackBerry Protect its cloud-based service which backs up the phones data.
Samsung Galaxy pitches in with features like All Share which allows the phone to link wirelessly with a TV, laptop or even audio system to play multimedia files directly from the phone. All Share synchronizes the phone with a compatible DLNA based product. Samsung Galaxy S 2 also offers something for enterprise customers with features like Microsoft Exchange Active Sync, on device encryption, VPN and Cisco WebEx support.
It also offers voice-recognition feature which allows a user to execute key phone functions through voice commands. Torch 9860 also matches this feature with voice-activated search ability. With speech-to-text translation, the phone allows users to look for files, email, contacts and music-and even search the web-all without typing a thing.