Research In Motion have announced a new Blackberry smartphone which does away with the traditional Blackberry design in favour of a touch screen. Blackberry's previous touch screen device the Storm received some mixed reviews with some complaining about the device's ease of use. The Torch 9800 (yes, Torch not Touch) will have a 3.2 inch touch screen albeit with a slide out keyboard also.
Blackberry's market share has been falling recently as they struggle to compete with Android Smartphones and the iPhone 4. Whilst Blackberry have always had great messaging features they have found it difficult to shift the image of a company that creates devices that are functional rather than fun.
The shift to a larger touch screen reflects the changing usage patterns brought about by the shift to 3g smart phones. Modern phones need provide a great web surfing experience in order to appeal to users and that can't be done with a small screen. A recent survey found that 50% of Blackberry users were 'interested' in buying an iPhone or Android device when their contract ended.
RIM are hoping that this device will be an iPhone killer (personally I don't think we're going to see one for quite some time). Avi Greengart of Current Analysis thinks that the device will be popular with users of previous RIM devices: "If you're a BlackBerry fan and you're looking for a great browsing experience and a better touch interface without losing the BlackBerry experience, the Torch will make many fans very happy."