BlackBerry News in Review: BlackBerry Torch 9800 Slider, BlackPad and UAE Black-OUT

BlackBerrySlider9800.JPGBlackBerry is in the news today. Tomorrow there will be an announcement from RIM and AT&T regarding the release of the next BlackBerry 9800 Torch slider. There are reports that BlackBerry is working on a tablet device (BlackPad) to work with BlackBery smartphones and the UAE will ban messaging, emial and browsing on BlackBerry smartphones, claiming it is a security risk.

Update 8/03/10:
RIM has officially announced the BlackBerry 9800 Torch Slider that will sell for $199 with a contract, starting on August 12, the same release date as the Droid 2.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 slider is expected to have BlackBerry OS 6, with multitouch controls, social networking, webKit browser, unified search and better media. Other features include QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi, GPS, 5MP camera with and 4GB of internal memory (expandable via a MicroSD card slot.)

The move to the AT&T promotion marks a change in plans, previously RIM heavily promoted buy one get on free deals on Verizon. RIM’s BlackBerry devices typically use less data than data hogs iPhones(273 megabytes a month) and Android(Droid X 5x more data) smartphones. AT&T has been promoting it’s lower although capped data plans. In June RIM noted that BlackBerry users use less data because the platform is more efficient.

Consumer Reports reported BlackBerry consumers use about 54 MB of (compressed/optimized) data per month on average (compared to data usage averages that are 3-5 times higher for other brands), which suggests that the large majority of BlackBerry consumers will now qualify to use the $15/month data plan.

“I think they are trying to create a little drama,” said Michael Gartenberg, partner at research and advisory firm Altimeter Group. “When you raise expectations like that, you really then have to deliver.”

RIM bought the domain blackpad.com. Bloomberg reports that the BlackPad will have a9.7 inches toucscreen and the price will similar to the iPad, starting at $499. The BlackBerry Wi-Fi-enabled tablet will be able to access the Internet through BlackBerry smartphones, using Bluetooth to share a BlackBerry’s 3G connection. The BlackPad is is expected to be released in November.

The UAE (United Arab Emirates will ban access to BlackBerry Messenger, email and browsing because data of the services cannot be monitored.

The UAE Telecom Regulatory Authority will stop access on October 11, because data is handled off-shore by an outside organization, saying it is a potential threat to national security.

BlackBerry claims security architecture is “widely accepted” by international governments and that “RIM respects both the regulatory requirements of government and the security and privacy needs of corporations and consumers,”