BlackBerry launches updated smartphone range with BB7 OS

Keyboardless touch screen devices to combat rivals
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BlackBerry maker RIM launched a slew of new smartphones running the new BlackBerry 7 operating system.

The firm said the new BlackBerry 7-based smartphones were 40 per cent faster than BlackBerry 6 devices. Helped no doubt by a new 1.2GHz ARM processor common to all models.

RIM launched five new phones although two are just versions of the same phones with the aging US-only CDMA radio technology. At any rate, the range refresh has been long sought by investors unhappy with BlackBerry's sliding market share versus rivals Apple and Android.

"This is the largest global launch of BlackBerry smartphones in our history," said RIM boss Mike Lazaridis.

"We think [customers] will be thrilled by the faster performance, enhanced browsing and richer multimedia delivered by these powerful new smartphones."

The BlackBerry Bold 990/9830 has a 2.8-inch display, 8GB of on-board storage, 5MP camera, Wi-Fi and 720p video recording. The BlackBerry Torch 9810 has a larger 3.2-inch display, same 5MP camera with video but adds GPS and a slide slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

The largest BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860 offers a 3.7-inch touch display with 'Liquid Graphics technology', 4GB of storage, 5MP camera with video, GPS and Wi-Fi. The Torch is the firm's fresh attempt at cracking the touch-screen interface

RIM may find itself facing an uphill battle to turn the tide of an ever souring technical press which seems to be fascinated by the bells and whistles of iOS and Android.

CNET journalist Roger Cheng, even while admitting he had never used the new BlackBerry phones, nevertheless penned an article entitled "Why you should think twice about buying a new BlackBerry"

However for a good deal of CNET's market, namely the corporate sector, the new boosted spec BlackBerry range will surely be a welcome arrival.

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