So Research In Motion, Canadian makers of the Blackberry, launched their new flagship device today and called it The Torch. The Torch is the biggest letdown since last time RIM launched a flagship device and verifies the opinion I've held for about a year that RIM's days of ~40% smartphone market share will never return once they leave, and they will leave soon.
If RIM keeps trying to make their old formula of a portrait hardware keyboard and a crappy screen work they'll be insolvent before the end of the decade, though I understand their hesitancy to drop a formula that worked well for so long. The truly inexplicable part of the Torch's failure is that while it debuts the much ballyhooed Blackberry OS 6.0 it uses the same SOC as the Blackberry 9700 and a 3-years-behind-the-times sub VGA screen. I'm not sure how RIM's management came to the conclusion that they should equip their "Flagship" device with a micro-architecture from 2002 (no really, that's how old ARM11 is) fabricated on process technology from 2006 (though smartphones in general are all a node behind here) and running a resolution that is 400% lower than the iPhone 4s and 260% lower than most Android handsets. RIMs new Webkit browser is almost as much better than RIMs old browser as it is worse than Androids latest. It's useable unlike RIM's old browser, but about half as fast as the latest iPhone's and less than half as fast as the Droid 2's. Email is apparently flawless as it always has been on Blackberry but this doesn't really matter when everyone has flawless email. A large increase in advertising has accompanied the Torches launch though the advertising is for BBM rather than the Torch itself in perhaps a tacit acknowledgement of the devices shortcomings.
Message to RIM: We want better phones not more advertising!