RIM may offer touchscreen BlackBerry

BARCELONA Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:13am EST

Research In Motion Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie speaks at the Blackberry maker's annual meeting of shareholders in Waterloo, July 17, 2007. Research In Motion may bring out a touchscreen version of its popular BlackBerry e-mail device if customers want it, according to Balsillie, who expects to deliver new high-speed devices soon. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski

Research In Motion Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie speaks at the Blackberry maker's annual meeting of shareholders in Waterloo, July 17, 2007. Research In Motion may bring out a touchscreen version of its popular BlackBerry e-mail device if customers want it, according to Balsillie, who expects to deliver new high-speed devices soon.

Credit: Reuters/J.P. Moczulski

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BARCELONA (Reuters) - Research In Motion RIM.TO may bring out a touchscreen version of its popular BlackBerry e-mail device if customers want it, according to co-chief executive Jim Balsillie, who expects to deliver new high-speed devices soon.

Balsillie declined to give details about future product plans. But when asked if RIM would bring out a touch-screen version of BlackBerry, which is well-liked for its miniature computer-like keyboard, he said it was important to be flexible to customers' demands.

"For sure we're looking at all kinds of different device packaging and presentation," Balsillie said in an interview with Reuters at the Mobile World Congress.

"I think getting religious on packaging is not the way to go," he said. "It's really user preference-oriented."

Aside from established wireless players, RIM also faces competition from rivals such as Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPhone, which has won praise for its innovative touchscreen control. But one criticism against iPhone has been its lack of a corporate e-mail service, RIM's core strength.

Balsillie said the company would introduce devices based on HSDPA, a high-speed wireless technology that is popular in Europe and used in the United States by No. 1 wireless service AT&T Inc (T.N).

"Certainly going to HSDPA is something that's very important to us in the near term," Balsillie said.

He said that while other handset makers were focusing on expanding their relationships with consumers, RIM was happy with its strategy of selling through carriers.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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