Research In Motion (RIM) today announced the Indian launch of its top-end smartphone, the BlackBerry Torch 9800, featuring the BlackBerry 6 operating system, and the combination of a full touch screen with the traditional BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard.

The 3G-ready device will be priced at Rs 35,000 and will be available across all Indian telecom operators offering BlackBerry services.

Powered by a 624 MHz processor, sporting a 360 x 480 pixel display and a 5 megapixel camera the 9800 seems far behind top-end devices from competing smartphone makers on the hardware specs front, but Frenny Bawa, Managing Director, India, Research In Motion insists that the 9800 is still an optimally balanced smartphone.

RIM is betting heavily on BlackBerry 6 OS as a key USP for the 9800. BlackBerry 6 features a redesigned interface that works with the touch screen and track pad, includes expanded messaging capabilities with features that RIM claims will simplify the management of social networking and RSS feeds and provides integrated access to BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other instant messaging applications.

BlackBerry 6 also integrates a new WebKit-based browser on BlackBerry Torch that renders HTML web pages (as well as HTML email) for an improved browsing experience as compared to traditional BlackBerry browsers. It features tabs for accessing multiple sites simultaneously and pinch to zoom for easy navigation. Universal search allows users to search through e-mail, messages, contacts, music, videos and more on the smartphone, as well as extend search to the Internet.

Other features include Wi-Fi (b/g/n) connectivity, built-in GPS for location-based applications and geo-tagging. The smartphone comes with a combined 8 GB of media storage out-of-the-box and includes a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that can bring the total storage memory to 36 GB.

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