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BlackBerry Torch 9800 launches: First BlackBerry OS6 handset

RIM has finally revealed the worst kept secret in BlackBerry history; its touchscreen slider which we saw some spy shots of back in May. This, they tell us, is the best BlackBerry ever.

It’s a brave move for RIM – a touchscreen slider always had the potential to be Quasimodo-like in its gruesomeness. Packing a full-on BlackBerry Qwerty below that 3.2-inch VGA capacitive touchscreen could make it chunky, hunch-backed and ugly, despite offering the convenience we always dreamed of.

It’s not exactly a dreamboat handset, but we could definitely imagine worse. The touchscreen has multi-touch capabilities so your old friend pinch-to-zoom will be present and correct. We’ve got some video of the OS in action here, sorry about the terrible soundtrack.

Along with the touchscreen/keyboard combo, the handset is also the first BlackBerry to feature a 5-megapixel camera with flash, continuous autofocus and face detection among its features. The built-in GPS means you’ll also benefit from geo-tagging.

Connectivity-wise, we’re also looking at HSDPA and Wi-Fi, all backed up by a 624 MHz processor. Web browsing ought to be top notch with all that and the built-in WebKit browser.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is also the first BlackBerry handset to run OS6; this is faster, more user-friendly and with advanced media features and better quality graphics. The handset comes with a 4GB microSD card, and can handle up to a 32GB card.

We don’t have any information yet on pricing or availability of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 for UK customers; but the press conference is ongoing. Rest assured, we’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: Vodafone is first out of the gates, announcing that it will be offering the BlackBerry Torch “soon”. You can register for updates on Vodafone’s website.

Orange has also just announced that the BlackBerry Torch 9800 will be coming soon to its colourful network. 

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