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BlackBerry Panics, SLASHES Price Of The Torch, Its 'Best BlackBerry Ever' (UPDATED)

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UPDATE: RIM has clarified that the price of the new BlackBerry Torch was not cut and that reports that it will not be selling for $99 are "inaccurate."

Reuters writes, "RIM, through a spokeswoman, said that Amazon.com has been selling the new smartphone for $99.99 since its launch on Aug. 12, following an "obviously ... common online pricing and promotional strategy that has been used with many other product introductions in the past." Carrier AT&T sells the new Torch for $199.99."

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The BlackBerry Torch 9800, trumpeted as the "best BlackBerry ever," seems not to have won over users.

The device, which has been available for only a week, is BlackBerry's first phone to run on the company's new BlackBerry 6 operating system. It is also the first BlackBerry featuring both a sliding keyboard and a touch-screen.

However, following several tepid reviews and lackluster sales (150,000 units were reportedly sold in its first weekend), BlackBerry has slashed the Torch's price tag in half--from $199 to $99.

Fast Company's Dan Nosowitz calls the move "surprising." Nosowitz also explains BlackBerry's tough position:

RIM may have the biggest smartphone market share in North America, but the Canadian company hasn't had a bonafide hit in some time--and that becomes a real problem when you consider the legions of huge-selling competitors, including the iPhone 4, HTC Evo 4G, HTC Droid Incredible, and Motorola Droid X. The new BlackBerry Torch, the first phone to run RIM's "revamped" BlackBerry OS 6, was supposed to be that device that revitalized the company, but it just didn't happen.

The Torch is selling for $99 on Amazon, Fast Company reports, but is still available for $199 on the AT&T website.

Take a look at the BlackBerry Torch's features here, and tell us what you think about the device in the comments below. Would you pay full price? Is it the best BlackBerry ever--and is that enough to compete?

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