Don't Write Us Off, Warns BlackBerry Chief

Toronto/New York, April 16 (IANS) After this week's advance reviews slamming its PlayBook tablet, that is hitting markets Tuesday, as 'half baked' and analysts calling the company a "broken brand", Research In Motion (RIM) co-CEO Jim Balsillie has warned critics not to write the compnay off.

RIM has not lost its edge and the company is poised for a new trajectory, the BlackBerry boss said at a glam party in Manhattan Thursday night to celebrate the launch of the PlayBook next week.

"It's going to be a newsy summer for us. And a very newsy BlackBerry World in a few weeks. Let's just say I like what we've got,'' he said.

Balsillie's remarks come just days after his co-CEO Mike Lazaridis walked out on a BBC interviewer for asking testy questions about RIM's problems with India over security issues.

Undeterred by adverse reviews of the 7-inch tablet, Blasillie said the device's architecture was 'future-proof.'

He told the tech review portal CNET that he was unbeat about RIM's future as the company updates its portfolio with 4G-enabled handsets featuring better processors and improved software. RIM has not announced any new smart phone since the launch of the BlackBerry Torch in August last year.

Conceding that the BlackBerry has lost its lead in the US smart phone market to Apple and Google Android devices, Balsillie explained this by saying that RIM was instead focusing more on overseas markets.

"We have been rapidly expanding our business in 180 countries. We have been focusing on the other 93 percent of the global market. We do need great products in the US, but this is a global business,'' he told CNET.

Cautioning those writing an early obituary for RIM, Balsillie said, "You must be careful what you predict. There are lots of twists and turns in this market. Our platform and architecture are moving forward. We have great relationships with carriers. And we have a good line up of products coming.''

Downplaying RIM's problem of offering fewer apps (27,000)on its smart phones as compared to more than 350,000 apps offered on the iPhone and over 150,000 on Android smart phones, he said, "You don't really need hundreds of thousands of apps to satisfy people. Most people only use a very small number of apps on their devices.''

Balsillie said many new products will be announced at the upcoming BlackBerry World in Orlando from May 3-5.
Among the new products will be the next version of its operating system BlackBerry 6.1 which will offer improved search and multitasking as well as a better user experience via enhanced high-resolution graphics. The BlackBerry web browser will also be improved with the help of more powerful processors and other hardware for expanded HTML 5 support.

RIM also plans to offer a revamped virtual keyboard for its touch screen devices.

According to CNET, some of the new devices from RIM could include the first touch-screen BlackBerry Bolds, which are codenamed BlackBerry 'Dakota' for the GSM version and the BlackBerry 'Montana' for the CDMA version. There is also talk of a new Storm 3, codenamed the BlackBerry 'Monaco Touch.'


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