Smartphone free-for-all: BlackBerry Torch vs. Droid 2 vs. Epic 4G

It seems as though we've been bombarded with big new smartphone releases this summer, as August alone has seen the release of the BlackBerry Torch 9800, the Motorola Droid 2 and the Samsung Epic 4G.

Mobile deathmatch: RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 vs. Apple iPhone 4, side by side

But do any of these phones have a shot at becoming big-name hits like the Apple iPhone 4, the Motorola Droid X or the HTC Evo 4G? In this article we'll break down the basics, from processors to screen sizes to operating systems and more.


The Droid 2 and the Epic 4G each have the same processing power, as Texas Instruments' OMAP 3630 and Samsung's Cortex A8 both clock in at 1GHz, thus putting them on par with all the other major smartphones on the market. The Torch's processor, however, clocks in significantly slower at 624MHz, which is about the same processing power as the original Droid. If you're looking for the fastest phone on the market that can power the most apps at once, then the Torch probably isn't for you.

Operating systems:

Both the Droid 2 and the Epic 4G run on Google's Android operating system, but for the time being only the Droid 2 runs on Android 2.2, the latest edition that includes several new enterprise features. Among other things, Android 2.2 gives administrators the ability to enforce password policies across Android devices and to remotely wipe any Android devices that become lost or compromised, as well as support for Exchange Calendars and auto-discovery that make it easier for users to set up and sync Exchange accounts.

The Torch, meanwhile, runs on the brand-new BlackBerry OS 6 that will feature a new Webkit-based browser that offers auto-wrap text zoom on the device's touchscreen; an operating system that will also work with social networking and messaging tools, such as Facebook, BlackBerry and AOL messengers, Twitter and Google Talk; and a simplified home screen that gives users several sidebars they can choose from that can limit the number of icons to appear on the main screen.

Although Android has done a lot over the past two years to improve its enterprise capabilities, it still has nothing on BlackBerry's overall security packages and is unlikely to do so unless Google sets up its own network operations center for Android phones. So the Droid 2 may be good for a casual enterprise user, but for anyone with access to highly sensitive data, you're still going to want to run with the BlackBerry.

Screens and keyboards:

None of the new devices can touch the monstrous 4.3-inch touchscreens of the Evo 4G or the Droid X, although the Epic 4G comes close at 4 inches. The Droid 2 (3.7 inches) and the Torch (3.2 inches) are significantly smaller. And while the Droid 2 and the Epic 4G both have screen resolutions of at least 480 x 800 pixels, the Torch has a resolution of 480 x 260 pixels.

All three new devices feature slide-out QWERTY keyboards. The Droid 2 and the Epic 4G have horizontal sliders while the Torch has a vertical slide-out keyboard. Research in Motion has traditionally been very strong in the quality of its physical keyboards and the Torch looks like it's no exception. The major knock on the original Motorola Droid, on the other hand, was that its keyboard was too shallow and it made typing difficult. Although Motorola has reportedly made improvements to the keyboard interface, it will be at least a couple of weeks before users can see how the keyboard fares after repeated use.


If you live in an area where Sprint is offering WiMAX coverage – and according to Clearwire, it will be offering WiMAX in all major U.S. metropolitan markets by year-end – then the Epic 4G will give you the fastest mobile data network in the country by far. Otherwise, you'll have to make do with Sprint's 3G EV-DO Rev. A network until WiMAX comes to your neighborhood.

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Tags smartphonesMotorolawirelessAppleNetworkingPhonesconsumer electronics

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