Yesterday, RIM held the official Australian media launch yesterday for the BlackBerry Torch, its combined touch screen/keyboard model. At the event, RIM officials confirmed that while the device will be released by all carriers in Australia, Optus will be first cab off the rank.
Optus stores will start selling the phone from today on a $79 a month, 24-month contract. No specific launch dates yet from the other carriers, but I'm guessing that with the glut of new Android and Windows Phone 7 models out now, it may well be a few weeks before alternative offers appear.
I'm a staunch BlackBerry user, but I was utterly underwhelmed by the first two touch-screen models RIM created, the Storm and Storm 2. The elimination of the "click-screen" approach from those models, plus the addition of BlackBerry's standard keyboard (the best by miles on any smart phone), makes the Torch a much more intriguing prospect. I'll be checking it out over the next few days and writing it up for next week's Road Worrier column.