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BlackBerry Push To Outshine IPhone

Research In Motion has unveiled a new BlackBerry smartphone to compete with Apple’s iPhone.

New Blackberry Torch 9800 smartphone is seen after being unveiled at a news conference in New York City.

AT&T will be the carrier for the BlackBerry Torch in the US, which will go on sale on August 12 for $199.99 (£125.52) with a two-year service agreement.

The device, unveiled in New York, has a touch screen and slide-out keyboard and a new operating system called BlackBerry 6, with a new browser.

Analysts said Research In Motion (RIM) needs a big overhaul of its phones to attract more buyers and compete with the iPhone and devices that use Google’s Android operating system.

The BlackBerry is popular among business people but, with more of them buying iPhones, critics say RIM must improve.

RIM’s president Mike Lazaridis said: “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.”

Blackberry Torch 9800

BlackBerry has long been the gold standard for corporate and government customers

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.

Nick Agostino, from Mackie Research Capital, said RIM’s success will depend on positive industry reviews and adoption by developers.

He said: “The fact that this device is going to be geared toward both enterprise and consumer, that will be a positive as people will feel that if they design for this device, they can hit two birds with one stone.”

RIM’s BlackBerry has long been the gold standard for corporate and government customers due to its speedy, secure email service.

But critics say RIM has been too slow to offer features that appeal to the much bigger consumer market.