RIM Introduces BlackBerry Torch For AT&T

RIM hasn't done the best job keep this one a complete secret, but it's still a shock to most who don't follow each and every move of the BlackBerry maker. Today at a press event in NYC, AT&T and RIM jointly announced the next BlackBerry device, which will be the first to launch with BlackBerry OS 6. No, it's not a BlackPad tablet, but an actual phone: the Torch.

This phone has also been known as the BlackBerry 9800, and it's yet another unique design from RIM. Rather than sticking with the traditional, and rather than going back to the Storm design that was near-universally disliked, the company has split the difference on the Torch. It looks like a Storm from the front, but a pull-down QWERTY keypad provides the physical keys that BlackBerry loyalists love so dearly.

As for specifications? The phone has 802.11n Wi-Fi, a 3.2" display, 4GB microSD card, 4GB of internal storage 512MB of RAM, 512MB of ROM, a 480x360 touch panel and a Media Sync feature that will enable your media to sync wirelessly. This also marks the first BlackBerry with both a touch screen and a physical keyboard, which should please both sides of the audience. Of course, having BlackBerry OS 6 onboard is another boon, particularly for those who felt that the existing OS was getting a bit aged compared to iOS 4 and Android 2.2.

This phone is still a business phone at heart, but the mixture of touch and physical keyboard may persuade some average consumers to give RIM another look. We're still waiting for an exact price and release date.