Now for the Torch Bashing

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 came out just four days ago on August 12 and just enough time has elapsed that all of those looking to give Research In Motion (RIM) a solid kick are lining up to do so. Take for example Goldman Sachs—the banking powerhouse—who has dubbed the Torch’s launch as “underwhelming,” noted that few stores had sold out of it, and slapped a “sell” rating on RIM. Or how about ComputerWorld? The magazine ran an online opinion piece about how RIM needs to get its head in the game and not make a smartphone with a screen that “looks ugly and pixilated” when compared to the new iPhone 4’s. Ouch.

So what is up here? What’s wrong with the Torch? Besides the lower-than-hoped screen resolution and a tad slow of a processor, nothing really. There is no ‘Antennagate’ debacle, no broken proximity sensors, and no yellow-tinted pictures coming out of its camera. But that doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. Most of the Torch purchases so far have been from current BlackBerry users who are upgrading.

Okay, so current BlackBerry owners are upgrading. Nothing wrong with that. The new Webkit-based browser that comes with the Torch (and BlackBerry OS 6) is a massive improvement over past versions. Even a large percent of iPhone 4 purchases have come from iPhone owners upgrading to the newest model, so why is this bad news for BlackBerry? Because not many else are bothering to get the Torch.

Speaking frankly here, the Torch just isn’t the most impressive device. Most other smart phone manufacturers already have at least one device on the market that can wow you. Mobile hotspot technology, web browsing, video recording, you name it and the BlackBerry has fallen short lately. Even the software/hardware combo that powers the improved internet experience on the Torch only manages to be slightly faster than the iPhone 3G. The iPhone 4 and some of the higher-end Android OS-powered smart phones are much faster.

The sharks are out and they are looking to take a bite out of RIM. Unless the company manages to churn out a new smart phone soon—and one that isn’t crippled by hardware limitations—then it will simply lose the hearts of consumers. Forget the business world at the moment, that’s been saturated and everyone will eventually catch up there. The average smart phone user wants things in their smart phone that RIM either refuses to put in or thinks is unimportant. BlackBerry OS 6 is good, now it just needs some new hardware to run on.

I know you have an opinion so let us hear it.

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