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In pictures: First look - RIM's new BlackBerry Torch smartphones

It's been a pretty rough year for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, as the company's PlayBook tablet received middling reviews, RIM axed 11% of its workforce and its BlackBerry smartphones have continued to lose market share to Android and the iPhone. But RIM is hoping that its newest devices are the start of a turnaround, as they combine top-notch hardware with what RIM hopes are significant improvements to its operating system and user experience. In this slideshow we'll give you a first look at some of the key features from RIM's newest smartphones, the BlackBerry Torch 9810 and the BlackBerry Torch 9850.

  • BlackBerry Torch 9850: It features many of the same specs as the Torch 9810 but is a straight-up touchscreen-only device that has a large 3.7-inch display with a higher resolution of 800x480 pixels. It's essentially a BlackBerry OS 7 version of the BlackBerry Storm, but without the clickable screen.

  • Trackpads in place: Just because both devices have touchscreens doesn't mean that RIM has abandoned its trackpads. The cool thing about having a trackpad on a touchscreen phone is that it can allow for more granular clicking and editing than traditional touchscreens. So while you're likely to use the touchscreen for most of your Web browsing, the trackpad can come in handy for clicking on links that are placed very close together.

  • How the two new Torches stack up

  • What do you think?

  • BlackBerry Balance: One of the big features being added to BlackBerry 7 OS is this new RIM technology that allows users and IT departments to erect a firewall between personal and corporate data on devices so that end users have more personal freedom to run their own apps while ensuring that corporate data doesn't get compromised. Among other things, BlackBerry Balance forbids users from copying and pasting information from an enterprise application into a personal application and restricts corporate data access for social networking applications.

  • BlackBerry 7 OS: This software will make its debut on the new Torch models and the BlackBerry Bold 9900. It features some key upgrades, such as an updated WebKit-based browser that RIM promises will deliver "browsing results that are up to 40% faster than BlackBerry 6 based smartphones and up to 100% faster than BlackBerry 5 based smartphones." BlackBerry OS 7 features support for both Flash and HTML5, meaning the new WebKit browser will also have access to all the games and videos that the Web has to offer. Additionally, RIM has integrated a host of applications onto BlackBerry 7 OS, including Documents to Go and BlackBerry Protect, the cloud-based system that RIM developed to back up user data.

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8655 processor: RIM definitely got the right chipset for both of these devices, as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2-GHz processor will make them far and away the most powerful BlackBerry devices yet.

  • BlackBerry Torch 9810: It is modelled after the original Torch released last summer that featured both a 3.2-inch touchscreen display and a slide-out physical keyboard. While the original Torch got kudos for its innovative design, it lacked the strong hardware needed to compete with the iPhone or the multitude of Android devices on the market. The new model improves significantly on its predecessor and includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8655 1.2GHz processor, a 640x480 pixel display screen, 8GB of onboard memory, a 5MP camera and 720p HD video capture.

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