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AT&T doubles down on BlackBerry with three OS 7 devices

New BlackBerry devices may have been scarce lately, but AT&T is changing that by announcing three new smartphones that feature BlackBerry OS 7 and support its HSPA+ network.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
2 min read
RIM BlackBerry Torch 9810 AT&T

Though you can't shake a smartphone this summer without hitting someone writing a BlackBerry obituary, AT&T is not even close to attending a funeral. Today, the carrier announced that it was adding three new BlackBerry devices to its roster, starting with the BlackBerry Torch 9810 later this month. It's all very good news for worried BlackBerry fans, who could see seven new handsets from the manufacturer through the end of 2011.

The Torch 9810, aka the Torch 2 (that phone cleared the FCC last month), will be a part of AT&T's "premium" BlackBerry family, which will offer a "faster and more fluid" user experience. The design doesn't break new ground, but its top features include the new BlackBerry 7 OS and support for the carrier's "4G" HSPA+ network.

We haven't had a full hands-on with OS 7 just yet, though we expect to take it for a test drive very soon. According to AT&T, the upgrade will bring a faster and more efficient user experience, HD video recording, improved graphics, a digital compass, and augmented reality. What's more, browsing should be up to 40 percent faster than BlackBerry OS 6 smartphones (like the first Torch) and up to 100 percent faster than BlackBerry OS 5 based handsets.

Other features on the Torch 9810 are admirable. There's a 1.2GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera, and 8GB of onboard storage. The 3.2-inch touch-screen will be powered by BlackBerry Liquid Graphics, but you'll also get a slide-out keyboard.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Research in Motion

Later in the year, you'll be able pick even more BlackBerry goodness when AT&T unveils the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the BlackBerry Torch 9860. The touch-screen 9900 doesn't come as a big shock given that we've heard so much about the phone since its unveiling three months ago at BlackBerry World (check out the hands-on from CNET Australia's Joseph Hanlon who was at the show).

Inside a thin design you should find OS 7, a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera, HSPA+ support, 8GB of internal memory, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS. T-Mobile has committed to carrying the 9900 already, though rumors of a delay have persisted.

We know less about the Torch 9860 except that it also will support HSPA+ and it will be AT&T's first all-touch BlackBerry smartphone (OS 7 as well). Otherwise, we imagine that its other features will compare favorably to its siblings.

Pricing and exact availability for the devices wasn't available at the time of this writing, but we'll fill in the details as we get them. And we'll do our best to get a hands-on as soon as we can.

The first BlackBerry 7 OS handsets (photos)

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