RIM announces two new versions of Blackberry Torch

Research in Motion has just lifted the veil on two new versions of its most recent Blackberry phone.

While it isn’t the from-the-ground-up redesign that many think RIM needs to remain relevant in the smartphone race, it is a sign that the Blackberry maker is still in this fight.

We were at the media event when RIM revealed the Torch last year, and the company’s arrogance was kind of staggering. Executives talked about things like universal search and social networking integration like they had just invented the wheel, when in reality all they had done was bring the same features Android and iPhone already mastered.

Now, it’s clear RIM has learned some humility and is only looking for consumers to at least accept that it’s trying its best.

Both new versions of the Torch have a 1.2 GHz processor, making them the most powerful Blackberry phones to date, and can run 40% faster than the previous version of the device.

However, they’re still powered by the Blackberry 7 operating system, which most critics see as outdated and not much different than the decades-old Blackberry software that can hardly compete in a world of Android and iOS.

The company plans to release new phones using QNX, the operating system that powers the Blackberry Playbook tablet and is in fact a brand new, fresh OS, in 2012. The new Torch models, meanwhile, will be available for sale by the end of this month.

In the smartphone wars, where market share historically moves gradually and inflexibly, Blackberry has managed to slough off double-digit market share and lose nearly all of its prestige in the global industry. RIM is working around the clock to prevent a seemingly inevitable fate.