RIM to come out with multimedia Blackberry

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BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis is preparing to add cameras and music players to the most-popular handheld computer to match Palm Inc.’s Treo and Motorola Inc.’s Q phone.

“There’s a lot of room for new stuff” in the BlackBerry, Lazaridis said “Adding multimedia technology is inevitable.”

RIM’s co-CEO is personally leading a team of more than 1,000 engineers to develop new features and simplify the devices to woo small businesses and consumers. A theoretical physics enthusiast who tests BlackBerrys himself, Lazaridis keeps his office in a different building to finance-focused co-CEO James Balsillie.

Lazaridis has his team tucked in one corner of the factory, in a hidden production line where engineers test new products and features. Visitors are forbidden.

“The manufacturing plant is really a research plant, because engineers can walk over there at any time,” he said. “I want engineers working on new products, not flying across the globe figuring out why one plant is having a problem.”