Research In Motion (RIM) will unveil five latest Blackberry phones with touch screens as it expects to renew the line’s dwindling appeal in the face of competition from the iPhone and Android Smartphones.
The latest phones had been expected earlier this year, but were postponed. Even though the company is profitable and seeing increasing sales, it is increasingly seen as a has-been that missed the opportunity to parlay the BlackBerry’s fame as a corporate email device into mass-market supremacy.
The Canadian company, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, is updating its high-end Bold models to include touch screens. It is as well launching two Torch models with big screens but no physical keyboards, imitating the basic design of the iPhone.
RIM opened a keyboard-less touch-screen phone called the Storm in 2008, more than a year after the first iPhone, but the Storm’s quirky design and poor software made it a flop.
Malik Saadi, an analyst at Informa said, “The ‘all-touchscreen’ Torch has been a while coming as a natural successor to the disappointing Storm, particularly when the smartphone market has gone touchscreen mad over the past 18 months.”
The phones run a new version of the BlackBerry operating system, which RIM says is much faster, particularly for Web browsing.
This month, AT&T would launch a Torch model with a physical keyboard, and the all-touch Torch and a Bold model later this year. It did not announce the prices.
Stocks of RIM increased by 82 cents, or 3.4%, to $24.97 in morning trading Wednesday, bouncing off a five-year decrease of $24.10 hit Tuesday.
The Bold models will be the first BlackBerrys to include so-named Near-Field Communications chips, so they could be used in place of credit cards by swiping them across properly equipped payment terminals. Some companies, including cellphone carriers like AT&T and Web companies like Google Inc. are endorsing the idea of using phones as digital “wallets.”