So I finally got my hands on the new Blackberry Torch. First impression of this device versus my Bold (9000) was this feels solid and the screen is very clear, and the keyboard, of which I cannot live without is a tad smaller than my Bold. The Torch was smaller (which is good), yet the screen did look much brighter than the Bold, so I was happy.
I switched the SIM, activated the unit with our BES, and POOF, I was off playing in no time with the features and functions of this little powerhouse.
Ok, so lets get on with the evaluation….So I turned it on, installed my usual apps, Facebook, Ubertwitter, Gmail, Google Talk, Maps, etc. Then I found a neat little icon called “Social Feeds”. Much to my surprise it had provisions to aggregate Facebook, MySpace (which I dont use), Instant messaging platforms AIM, Yahoo Messinger, Google Talk. And I thought, how cool is this!! Once your in the “Social Feeds” section, there actually is a “Social Filter” at the top of the tab to further segment your favorite social toy.
The Browser is the next point I noticed RIM fixed. The old BB browsers were terrible, slow, and not friendly. The new browser in the Torch is fast, and actually functional like a desktop-browser. I could do the iPHONE squeeze n’ Pinch to make the site larger…YES!! No more mandatory reading classes for me!!! Biggest news for me on this one, is you can now SAVE A WEBSITE AS A SHORTCUT, and you can PUT THAT SHORTCUT LINK AN ICON ON THE DESKTOP!! WOW, no more creating an .alx file to save on my desktop as a shortcut. That is a great feature !!
The Torch desktop is really 5 different desktops (All, Frequent, Downloads, Media, and Favorites) You can assign any icon at the desktop to be a favorite, but I found this annoying as i kept seeing the same icon on multiple screens, but still had to navigate to one of the 5 desktops to get to an icon that was not tagged.
The media and movie watching is still fantastic, and the screen works like an iPhone and Android between landscape and portrait. The camera is a 5 MP unit, and you can upload directly to Facebook or MySpace with ease. In fact all apps that ran on the older BB, run faster on the Torch. I can actually use my Facebook app, and not wait for minutes until the stream refreshed as it did on my BB9000.
The keyboard is great as usual, and my fat fingers do not allow me to use the on-screen keyboard unless I am super careful on typing.
The options in each screen are easier to use, and the layout of the options is more intuitive than on previous models, but it does take time to get used to.
The Blackberry Torch is a great little device, not on par with iPHONE or Android, but for the Enterprise it rocks !! Blackberry diehards will love this device, and will all the management features from the BES servers, it will please corporate executives, and consumers willing to step out and try a BB for the first time. I would like to see RIM introduce the ability to link Enterprise Social Platforms into the Torch, but maybe that will come in future releases. Google with their Android platform is making huge inroads to the Enterprise Mobility landscape, and RIM had better get moving in order to stem off the move to Google’s platform, which is happening faster than experts predict.