It's no secret that RIM is struggling to compete in today's ultra-competitive smartphone market, playing both hardware and software catch-up to the likes of Android and iOS.
So does the launch of its first full-capacitive-touchscreen smartphone, the BlackBerry Torch 9860, herald a change in fortunes for the Canadian company?
We took a good hard hands-on look at the new handset to find out.
To start with, it certainly doesn't have the premium feel of the iPhone 4 or even the touch-and-type BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900. The chassis is pure plastic, with the glossy black finish proving to be the forensic examiner's dream, what with its ability to cling on to fingerprints and smudges.
The 3.6-inch touchscreen is fairly bright, although we're not convinced that it will fare too well in direct sunlight as it is super reflective.
There's a front-facing camera on the handset too, for video calling and cheesy profile-picture taking.
Unlike many Android manufacturers, RIM has kept a few buttons alongside the Torch 9860's touch control. Under the touchscreen are four navigation buttons and an optical trackpad; call and end, menu and back - these are physical buttons rather than soft keys.
As is RIM's wont, the lock/power button sits on the top side of the handset while the back features a 5MP snapper which comes with an LED flash situated a few centimetres away.
To take pictures, there's a rubberised, slightly raised shutter button on the edge of the handset, with volume controls nearby. These buttons are very subtle but also kind of difficult to actually press, which may mean you're safe from accidentally turning the volume up and down in your pocket, but does make taking pictures a bit of a pain.
The other edge of the Torch 9860 is home to the micro USB port.
The BlackBerry Torch 9860 comes with BlackBerry OS 7, the updated OS that we first saw on the BlackBerry Bold Touch back in May.
It's largely the same as OS 6, with homescreen control very similar to the original BlackBerry Torch's.
This means you have access to a collapsible menu on the homescreen, in which you can arrange your various apps to your heart's content. With various screens (All, Most Used, Favourites, Media etc.), navigating to specific apps will be easy as pie once you have the phone set up the way you want it.
Notifications now live in the tool bar under the date and time; pulling the icon down to reveal your latest alerts, including missed calls and social media updates, is a quick and easy move.
The icons themselves have had a bit of a makeover, which is nice but not exactly thrilling.
Powering the Torch 9860 is a 1.2Ghz processor; it's a single-core affair as RIM has long protested that dual-core is only really necessary on tablets at this point.
We can't say we had any complaints about speed during our brief stint with the phone, but it'll be interesting to see how it holds up when faced with some hardcore multi-tasking in our full BlackBerry Torch 9860 review.
The touchscreen is nice and responsive – anyone who ever owned a BlackBerry Storm handset will be pleased to hear that there's no weird clicky screen to contend with on the Torch 9860, it's pure capacitive.
Web browsing over Wi-Fi was fairly quick, and it was novel to have the big-screen experience on a BlackBerry; portrait set up was nothing to write home about, but landscape mode meant text was legible and you get a good flavour of the page.
Pinch to zoom also worked well, with rendering speeds proving not too shabby at all.
What many people love most about their BlackBerry, marketing guff aside, is RIM's physical QWERTY keyboards.
Even the cramped little layout on the original Torch was better than most other manufacturers' keyboard efforts; so how does the virtual QWERTY on the Torch 9860 measure up?
Keyboard fans won't fall in love with this onscreen typing tool (we've run out of different ways to say 'keyboard', can you tell?); it's not that typing is painful on it or anything, it's just… average.
In landscape mode, the spacing is quite comfortable and the screen isn't so big that you couldn't still stick to thumb-based typing.
The predictive text was quite quick to come up with the words we were aiming for, which is good news for the messy typers among us, but the overall typing experience is nothing special.
The 5MP camera is another fairly average affair; the shutter is a little slow to react, which, when coupled with the difficult shutter button we mentioned earlier, doesn't make for a great experience.
You do have the option to use the onscreen camera button, but that can also lead to fuzzy pictures. One high point, however, is the nice array of photography options that RIM has built in, everything from ironic faux-vintage effects to optimised settings for landscapes, party scenes and so on.
The gallery is nicely segmented into albums, with thumbnail view making it easy to swoop in and out of your favoured shots.
It's no secret that RIM has been trying to up its media credentials, and the BlackBerry Torch 9860's 3.6-inch screen certainly lends itself better to video-watching than the cramped Bold 9900. Playback was smooth and crisp, too.
The music player also uses the larger screen to its advantage with scaled up album art work nicer to look at and bigger controls easier to use.
BlackBerry OS 7 will also come with Facebook 2.0, RIM's updated Facebook app, pre-installed – unfortunately our demo unit didn't have this so we can't tell you how well it worked.
As usual, we have to lament the App World which was painfully slow to load. RIM still can't compete with Android or iOS on app volume, which will be a dealbreaker for some.
The BlackBerry Torch 9860 is a nice phone. It's not hideous, it works well and it should offer you all the basic functionality you could want.
But it's just nice. We don't feel the earth move when we look at or play with it, and it can't compete with the suave good looks of the iPhone 4 or the sheer grunt behind some of the high-end touchscreens coming out on Android, like the Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Sensation.
If RIM can bring the BlackBerry Torch 9860 out at a low-enough price point to appeal to the BBMing teenage masses who want to social network and watch a lot of video, it could be a winner.
But we're expecting it to land at around £30 a month (or upwards of £300 SIM-free) which would put it on a par with high end HTCs and the Samsung Galaxy range; we can't help but feel the BlackBerry Torch 9860 might be punching above its weight.