I have an emotional response whenever I write an overview of a new BlackBerry. Part of the reason is because I have been a loyal BlackBerry user for several years, and partly because I have watched as RIM has gone from "Trailblazing" status to playing catch-up to a new market with new benchmarks.
The BlackBerry Torch illustrates my point about playing catch-up because the Torch offers some fantastic features which, unlike the trailblazing days of "Push Email", are more akin to just getting even with what Apple and Android have been offering for some time.
There are four key features offered on the Torch that are excellent, and none of them are new to the market... just to BlackBerry. Here's a brief breakdown of those features:
1. Two-finger Tap: Allows you to select multiple things simultaneously, similar to holding down the "command" key on your home PC.
2. Comprehensive Universal Search: The Torch is able to expand searches to include contacts, apps, bookmarks, emails, etc, based on whatever search string you type.
3. Wireless Sync: This feature allows you to browse your home computer's music on your phone and download it, as long as you are on your home wireless network.
4. Photo Folders: Using geolocation, the Torch is able to sort your photos based on where you took them.
In keeping with the theme of "keeping up", the Torch now offers cover flow, which Apple has had for some time. The Torch has auto-wrapping (which reformats text to fit whatever level you zoom to), which Android already offers, and they offer fully integrated social media, which Microsoft has already done.
Add to all of this RIM's third attempt at a touch screen, this time on a vertical slider which you will either love or hate, and you end up with a fine effort from RIM to, well, bring to market a device that is decidedly "caught up".