Research in Motion has official announced the BlackBerry Torch 9800 will be available on August 12. There are no surprises in the announcement, as the BlackBerry OS6 based slider has been extensively covered in the run-up to the announcement. The phone is expected to compete with the iPhone, but other than a physical keyboard and BlackBerry Enterprise Server support, this AT&T exclusive phone offers little to compete with the iPhone, which is cutting into RIM's enterprise market share.After months of speculation,
While other manufacturers are offering handsets capable of video conferencing and augmented reality, RIM is struggling to compete with older model phones. The Torch has no front facing camera, and the compass necessary to support augmented reality apps isn't expected to hit BlackBerry phones until the Storm 4 (and the Storm 3 isn't even out yet). The Torch looks quite a bit like the Pre, Palm's failed attempt to compete with iPhone, which was released over a year ago.
RIM has also had trouble abroad recently, with the UAE and India threatening to shut RIM's e-mail service down. This could be a blessing in disguise, however. Following the beating Google's Android took in the area of security (perhaps unfairly) last week at Black Hat, "so secure it's banned in several countries" isn't a bad pitch.
However, with Cisco pushing mobile Android-based video conferencing and SAP dipping its toes into enterprise augmented reality, it's hard not to think of the BlackBerry as yesterday's mobile computing device. And with the iPhone is improving its security and rising quickly in the enterprise, RIM is going to have to do more to impress.