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RIM to launch ‘dual mode’ handset
|16 мая 2008|
Research In Motion, Canadian manufacturer of the BlackBerry family of smartphones, will launch its first touch screen model dubbed ‘Thunder’ later this year, according to analysts and industry insiders.
The new device, which will be a ‘dual mode’ handset capable of working worldwide, would be designed to compete directly with Apple’s second generation iPhone which is expected launched next month, according to Mike Abramsky, an RBC Capital Markets analyst based in Toronto, Canada.
RIM, which unveiled the first 3G Blackberry called ‘Bold’ last week, is updating its designs to fend off a new faster iPhone, Mr Abramsky said in a note to investors. He expects the touchscreen-based ‘iPhone killer’ to be launched in October or November.
Verizon Wireless, the second largest US mobile network operator, will be the launch partner in the US while Vodafone, which holds a 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless, will launch it overseas, according to industry sources.
In addition to the Bold and the touch-screen device, Mr Abramsky said RIM is also working on several other new products, including a ‘clamshell’ BlackBerry dubbed ‘Kickstart’ that flips open to reveal a reduced key SureType keypad.
The flagship Bold, which is expected to go on sale in July or August and will be offered exclusively by AT&T’s mobile unit in the US, features a faster processor chip, better browser, high resolution screen and more memory for storing multimedia and other data.
The Bold was warmly welcomed by reviewers and investors last week who sent RIM’s share price climbing to a new record high. Neverlesess there has been a steady drumbeat of speculation among bloggers and others in recent months about the possible launch of both clamshell and touchscreen BlackBerrys.
Senior RIM executives have steadfastly declined to comment on the possibility of a touch-screen-based BlackBerry while noting that most business BlackBerry users preferred a physical keyboard. On Thursday RIM said it does not comment on what it characterized as “rumors and speculation.”
A touch-based BlackBerry would however make it easier for RIM to attract individual users and compete more effectively against Apple which has quickly become the second largest smartphone supplier since launching the multimedia capable iPhone.
RIM dominated US shipments of smartphones in the fourth quarter with 41 per cent of the market, according to Canalys, the UK-based telecommunications consultancy. Apple had 28 per cent and Palm, maker of the Treo family, had 9 per cent.
RIM, which started out focused on the corporate market, has pushed into the consumer market over the past 18 months with multimedia capable BlackBerry models including the ‘Pearl’ and ‘Curve.’ Consumers now account for about a third of the 14m BlackBerry users worldwide.
Источник: Financial Times