BlackBerry Torch 9800: What Developers Need to Know!


With the announcement of the new BlackBerry® Torch™ 9800 smartphone today, I wanted to provide an overview of the device from the perspective of the developer, in order to help developers understand what opportunities this new smartphone opens up.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone is the first to support BlackBerry® 6, which has been previewed recently on the Inside BlackBerry Blog. It opens up new opportunities for our developer community, from enhanced Java® applications to game-changing web applications to BlackBerry® Widgets using HTML5 and CSS3.

For Java developers, you can check out our BlackBerry 6 developer page for more information on the new APIs and to download the new tools needed to get started. Developers will also be able to download the latest BlackBerry Java SDK v6.0 via the Eclipse® update site.

Web and BlackBerry® Widget developers can also visit the BlackBerry 6 developer page for more information on the new capabilities. All of the existing web development tools on BlackBerry® smartphones will work with BlackBerry 6, but you will want to download the latest simulator to check out your new HTML5 content.

To coincide with the major enhancements to the BlackBerry® Browser in BlackBerry 6 with the inclusion of the new WebKit rendering engine, we have also modified the User Agent header for the browser to better reflect the type of web content supported by our browser. To ensure that your mobile and desktop websites are providing the best possible content and experience for our users, developers should modify their websites to detect this new User Agent header:

Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry 9800; en) AppleWebKit/534.1+
(KHTML, Like Gecko) Version/ Mobile Safari/534.1+

BlackBerry Torch – A Developer’s Perspective

From a developer’s perspective, here is what you need to know about the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone.

  • Supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE/HSDPA networks worldwide providing 3G cellular connectivity around the world
  • 480 x 360 screen resolution

  • 5.0 MP Camera with Auto Focus, Scene Modes support and video recording

  • Location Support through the Geolocation Service and Autonomous GPS

  • Wi-Fi® Support – 802.11n

  • 4 GB of onboard memory, with microSD support for up to 32GB (for multimedia, etc.); 512MB flash memory (Application Space)

  • The first BlackBerry smartphone with a physical keyboard and touch screen!

  • Touch screen and trackpad: Touch screen does not utilize SurePress™ – to accommodate in-market apps supporting SurePress, a TouchEvent.DOWN event will also generate TouchEvent.CLICK and TouchEvent.UNCLICK events. So what would’ve previously been a DOWN / UP sequence on previous BlackBerry smartphones supporting touch now results in a DOWN / CLICK / UNCLICK / UP sequence, where the CLICK and UNCLICK events are generated following the DOWN event.

Get started now by checking out developer pages for BlackBerry 6!

About Mike Kirkup

Mike Kirkup is the Director for the Developer Relations program at Research In Motion (RIM), which is responsible for managing the technical relationships and programs for RIM’s developer community worldwide. Mike and his team work with RIM’s developer community to provide support and guidance as developers work to integrate their applications to the BlackBerry platform. Mike joined RIM in 2001 as a Security Software Developer in RIM’s Wireless Security Group. As part of the Wireless Securty group, Mike contributed to the development of the BlackBerry Cryptography API, S/MIME and PGP implementations. Mike holds a Masters of Management Science and a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.

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  • Shai

    How would one who wrote a canvas based application for storm detect the newer device and make selection behavior work correctly on this device?

  • Aricciardi

    I need one of this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TonyÜberAlles

    Is there any suport to OpenGL ES?

  • Runandhide05

    why in gods name will you not give storm 2 OS6? BB is losing another life long berry user to anything else but this crap! I was hopping i would finaly have a keyboard that works in BBM…but no… build it and forget it! what the hell guys?

  • tCricket

    Still only 512MB flash memory for Applications??? WOW – talk about ancient technology. RIM, wake up and compete with the big boys!! This can NEVER compete with iPhone/Android devices with this fatal bottleneck!

    • Nick

      lol… you have no idea what are you talking about

  • swati

    seems good,lets c how functionality goes on

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  • Ben

    does the surepress support mean that there is any difference on the Torch between a light press or a click-press, or that these will generate the same sequence?
    (simulator behaviour is confusing on the matter)

  • James

    I think that only allowing apps in flash memory will be the end of RIM. As a BES admin I am looking for another secure solutions for iPhone/Andriod.

  • Hercules Vandermollen

    What are you talking about? iPhone 4 only has 512 MB of RAM.

  • Knottyrope

    it is up to the carrier to support OS 6.

  • dariusz

    Are you really that upset about this? Give it a few weeks/months to see when one of the carriers releases OS6 for your device and install it then. I have a 1.5 year old Bold running the most recent version 5 OS .. despite that Rogers hasn't updated, ever. Patience my friend.

    • Dave Powell

      Actually as someone else with a 9000, Rogers updated several times, the most recent being an official about 2 months ago. But your other comment about using any vendor’s OS is true.

  • Ssi

    Only in your dreams …

  • Prom1

    You're going to be doing MORE than just looking at iPhone if that's what you decide. You'll need to know how OS X works on a windows network, consider VMWare solutions and requesting OS X machine with Server to be added onto the network and what you'll need to administer the iPhone over a wireless network or provider network.

  • Prom1

    WRONG. Its up to the carrier to support OS 6 on:
    9700, 9650, 9100 and by default on future released devices starting with Torch 9800. Please see the official RIM press release.

    @ Runandhide05, are you seriously wanting to install an OS meant for capacitive touch with different input commands on a surepress devices that has different calls?! Get real please. If you prefer the Storm layout, be patient when Storm 3 gets released on Verizon, Telus Mobility & Bell Mobility in the fall.

  • TonyÜberAlles

    Mmmh… In my dreams there are only beautiful woman xD

  • Tony

    Actually CLICK/UNCLICK is generated on the UP, not the DOWN, and only if the UP was close-to and recent-to the DOWN position and time. ie if it was a “tap”. The sequence is sent is

    TAP ?

    the ? is on TAP because the CLICK/UNCLICK is only sent if the App returned false on TAP.

    And even though the UP is sent last, it all happens after the touch is lifted, *not* on the DOWN.

    The best suggestions for developers is to invoke actions on UNCLICK – this will work on both SurePress and non SurePress, and also match the default ButtonField behaviour.

  • Tony

    There is no “press” only touch. No click. Only touch.

    However, the system will generate fake “CLICK/UNCLICK” events if you TAP the screen.

    So TAP becomes CLICK/UNCLICK basically.

    Your apps should currently respond to UNCLICK. They still can.

  • Max

    Just played with a Torch demo unit at a local AT&T store, but the User Agent showed as

    BlackBerry9800/ Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102

    Didn't show as the WebKit agent as discussed above at all. Any ideas?

    • Wes

      It does now

      Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry 9800; en) AppleWebKit/534.1+ (KHTML, Like Gecko) Version/ Mobile Safari/534.1

  • Ben

    thanks tony – clears that up.

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