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Mike Lazaridis Introduces BlackBerry 6 on the BlackBerry Torch

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In this video, RIM President and Co-CEO debuts the BlackBerry Torch and explains how the next generation BlackBerry OS will feel to a seasoned BlackBerry user, calling it “fresh but familiar”. Lazaridis says the naming of this device is giving credit to Torch Mobile, which was acquired by RIM just under a year ago. The BlackBerry Torch is the first BlackBerry with a WebKit browser and subsystem, whose technology Torch Mobile specializes in and helped integrate WebKit features into BlackBerry 6.

BlackBerryCool Roundup for the Week of July 19th

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The big news this week is all about Antennagate. Apple took a jab at a few other smartphone manufacturers trying to claim that their antenna issue isn’t confined to the iPhone and that other smartphones, including the Bold 9700, also have antenna issues. RIM’s CEOs responded to this claim with a stern letter to Steve Jobs calling it a “self-made debacle”. RIM is normally a pretty tight-lipped company that sticks to their own and this was definitely out of character for the company. Regardless, the letter was very much needed as Jobs’ statements needed a response.

Be sure to check out this past week in BlackBerry as we have a ton of content you may have missed.
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RIM CEOs Officially Respond to Apple’s Antenna Propaganda

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During the Apple iPhone 4 Antenna press conference, Steve Jobs claimed that Apple’s antenna issues were not specific to the iPhone, and other smartphones such as the BlackBerry Bold 9700 experience similar issues. It seems BlackBerryCool readers don’t experience these issues and RIM’s CEOs took aim at Steve Jobs and defended their antennas. Here is their official statement from Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis:

“Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.”

- Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

RIM is a pretty quiet company and this is not the norm for their CEOs. Generally, RIM doesn’t talk about other smartphones or comment directly on another company but it’s great to see them respond to a blatant attack on the company.

Queen Elizabeth II Wraps Up RIM Tour with Personalized Bold 9700

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip are concluding a nine day tour of Canada which took them to Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto and RIM’s headquarters in Waterloo Ontario. Following her tour of Canada’s high tech hub with co-founder Mike Lazaridis, the Queen was presented with her own personalized, white, BlackBerry Bold 9700. The Bold 9700 came preloaded with a wallpaper of children from Queen Elizabeth Public School in Kitchener offering flowers. It’s rumored that the Queen isn’t a stranger to these devices, but Palace officials wouldn’t confirm whether a Royal BlackBerry already exists.

As the Queen was guided around RIM’s assembly floor, which is specially designed to guard against electrostatic shocks, the Queen and company wore white jackets like all the employees at the facility. According to RIM, this was the first time the media had been allowed on the RIM work floor. The whole experience was very reminiscent of back in 1878 when Queen Victoria met Alexander Graham Bell and tried his new invention: the telephone.

[Audio] WES 2010 General Session Keynote with Mike Lazaridis

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Click here to listen to the keynote yourself.

The first WES2010 general session took place today and Mike Lazaridis gave a keynote very similar to the presentation he gave to analysts yesterday. To pull off these big keynotes, two massive conference rooms are consolidated into one giant sit-down business rock concert. There is a huge lighting and projector rig with lots of BlackBerry branding floating across all the screens. Almost all of the WES attendees are here, thousands fill the seats tapping their BlackBerry smartphones.

Mike Lazaridis takes the stage and is greeted with warm applause from the audience. Here are some of the key points he shared with the WES audience:

  • RIM has sold over 90 million BlackBerry smartphones sold to date.
  • There are currently 41 Million Customers, Mike also mentioned he has a goal of growing that to 100-million users.
  • “Efficiency is at the heart of everything we do” in reference to the Platform’s true strength. BlackBerry efficiently utilizes networks, battery, and software.
  • 20 million users have downloaded App world, half of the devices in the wild. App World users download a million apps every day.
  • “BlackBerry has the best apps, not the most apps” in reference to the quality of apps on BlackBerry App World.
  • Super Apps work well together, and work well with native apps.
  • Email was the platform’s first super app now developers can make them too.
  • There are 20 million BBM users worldwide.

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Video of the Upcoming BlackBerry 6 OS and New UI

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BlackBerry have now made public the BlackBerry 6 video that Mike Lazaridis demoed to analysts yesterday. The video gives us a little taste of what to expect from the UI, and it seems like there are some big improvements to the overall navigation experience. It seems OS 6 isn’t necessarily going to be a fresh OS in the way we think it will be, but rather something closer to a theme on steroids. With a WebKit engine powering the browser, and a smoother UI, BlackBerry 6 is sure to be a hit with the consumer market. Definitely something we’re looking forward to.