Optus keen on new BlackBerry smartphones

BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Torch 9860 will be available through Optus from early September

The BlackBerry Torch 9860 is just the third BlackBerry to be released without a physical keyboard

The BlackBerry Torch 9860 is just the third BlackBerry to be released without a physical keyboard

Optus has announced it will be the first Australian carrier to offer RIM's new range of BlackBerry smartphones, specifically the Torch 9860 and the Bold 9900.

Read our guide to the top BlackBerry smartphones on the market, and see the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

The new smartphones will be the first BlackBerry devices to ship with the latest BlackBerry 7 operating system. Amongst the new features are an improved, faster Web browser, voice-activated searches, the ability to manage personal content separately from corporate content with BlackBerry Balance, as well as a number of additional personal and productivity applications.

"We're excited that Optus customers will be among the first in the world to get their hands on these fantastic BlackBerry smartphones featuring the new BlackBerry 7 operating system", said Austin R Bryan, director of Optus digital media. "The enhancements in the BlackBerry 7 OS, as well as the impressive level of social networking integration across both smartphones, allow Optus BlackBerry users to strike the ideal balance between work and play."

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the thinnest BlackBerry ever released at 10.mm and features a capacitive touchscreen combined with a full QWERTY keyboard, while the BlackBerry Torch 9860 is RIM's third touchscreen-only device, following the unsuccessful Storm and Storm 2 handsets.

Both the new Bold and the new Torch are powered by a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, 768MB RAM and have 8GB of internal memory, along with a microSD card slot for extra storage — significantly improved specifications over previous BlackBerry models.

Optus has promised that both the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the Torch 9860 will be available through Optus retail stores, online and other sales channels from early September.

Pricing for both handsets will be announced "closer to launch."

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