Optus will be the first telco in Australia to sell RIM's BlackBerry Torch smartphone — the first BlackBerry to feature both a touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard — RIM announced yesterday.
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone is the first to run BlackBerry 6 OS, which offers a redesigned interface, an improved Web browser, and enhanced universal search functionality.
"The BlackBerry Torch has been highly anticipated here in Australia and we are very proud to be launching this innovative new smartphone with our carrier partners", said Adele Beachley, RIM managing director for Australia and New Zealand. "The new BlackBerry Torch smartphone builds on the familiar and powerful capabilities of the BlackBerry platform to provide the features that are ideal for socially connected consumers while also providing the tools that business customers trust."
In addition to 3G connectivity, the BlackBerry Torch 9800 has Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth capabilities and provides access to third-party applications through RIM's app store, BlackBerry App World. According to RIM, BlackBerry App World currently has around 10,000 apps, and more than 1 million downloads per day globally.
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 will be available from Optus stores from today for $0 upfront on a $79 plan over 24 months. Telstra and VHA (Vodafone Hutchison Australia) are expected to follow "by Christmas".