AT&T Inc will be the carrier for the BlackBerry Torch, which will go on sale on August 12 for $199.99 with a two-year service agreement.
The device, unveiled in New York, has a touchscreen and slide-out keyboard and a new operating system called BlackBerry 6 with a new browser.
Analysts said RIM needs a big overhaul of its phones to attract more buyers and compete with iPhone and devices that use Google’s Android operating system, such as Motorola’s Droid.
The BlackBerry is popular among business people, but with more of them buying iPhones, critics say RIM must step up.
“This is one of the most important product introductions in our history. It’s a really special product because so much new goodness has been added to it.” said Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s president and co-chief executive.
The new device gives users the choice of typing out messages on the touch screen or the slide-out keyboard. It also comes with a 5 megapixel camera with a flash.
The launch came earlier than most analysts expected.
“I’m glad to see they got it out sooner rather than later,” said Nick Agostino at Mackie Research Capital. RIM’s success will depend on positive industry reviews and adoption by developers, he said.
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