According to RIM, the new browser is, "now one of the elite browsers in mobile today" with pages loading 1.6 times faster than seen with the browser on BlackBerry 6 OS. Changes to the software optimizes WebKit while new hardware increases browser speed. The faster zooming and panning leads to fewer cases of "checkerboarding" or the visual checkerboard type image that comes when the browser speed is slower than the speed that you are navigating the browser at.
RIM thought that the Torch would take BlackBerry to the same level as the iPhone and Android. Kudos to RIM for realizing that they were still far short and coming up with the new OS that could put BlackBerry on the map once again.