TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. announced a new model of its ubiquitous smartphone on Tuesday, this one able to operate on both cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
The dual-mode BlackBerry 8820, as the device is known, will be launched by AT&T in the United States later this summer, the company said.
“The BlackBerry 8820 complements our carrier partners’ cellular networks with the added ability to stay connected via Wi-Fi at home, through hotspots and corporate campuses,” RIM co-Chief Executive Mike Lazaridis said in a statement.
The new BlackBerry, like other recent RIM models, also comes with “latest media player enhancements,” the company said.
Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM is trying to broaden the market for its smartphones by loading them with consumer-aimed multimedia features like video and music players, and cameras.
Although the BlackBerry has become a staple of executives, politicians, lawyers and other professionals, it has yet to penetrate the retail market to the same extent.
Apple Inc. also realizes the potential for smartphones in the retail market. To that end, it has rolled out the iPhone, which prompted some analysts to worry about a competitive threat to RIM’s BlackBerry.
Despite this, RIM forecast a rosy outlook for its future last month, apparently unfazed by the iPhone launch. And Jim Balsillie, RIM’s other co-CEO, has repeatedly said the company isn’t worried about the iPhone denting its sales.
RIM shares rose C$4.19 to C$240.29, on the Toronto Stock Exchange. On Nasdaq, they rose $3.53 to $230.07.