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UPDATED: Mike Lazaridis Says Tablets and Touchscreen Phones Are Insignificant

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UPDATE: RIM were kind enough to send over the transcripts of the TD Newcrest event in order to clear up exactly what was said during the keynote. After reading the actual transcripts from the event, it’s clear Mike L didn’t say anything that was really definitive about the tablet market, but rather promoted a sense of uncertainty. I think the iPad definitely proved a tablet market can be vibrant, and that the market can handle some redundancy. When it comes to touchscreen devices, the transcripts show that there was definitely an attempt to pivot the conversation away from touchscreens and focus more on trackpads. When I first wrote about this, the thought was that Mike was shifting the discussion away from touchscreens and towards their competitive advantage, which is definitely the trackpad market. The 8520 has a very high customer satisfaction rating, and you could argue the trackpad is central to this. It’s a smart move for Mike to shift the discussion to these devices, which he calls a “third dimension” in user input. Overall, the original post was a little focused on a dismissal of tablets and touchscreens, and would have probably been better put as a focus on trackpads and smartphone capabilities.

Mike Lazaridis spoke at a TD Newcrest technology conference in Toronto today where he downplayed Apple’s tablet efforts and said there wasn’t necessarily a market for them. Lazaridis said these devices should be put in the context of computers and smartphones, and said if a user is asked to choose between an tablet and a netbook, the tablet isn’t an adequate substitute. Mike L believes that as smartphones become more powerful, and move closer to PCs, the need for a tablet is greatly reduced.

Lazaridis also dismissed the importance of touchscreen phones, saying that touch-only devices such as the iPhone aren’t that popular. While it’s important to appease the consumer and the carrier, who clearly want a touchscreen device, he believes most of these customers are shifting to QWERTY.

All of this news comes as we learn that RIM might be launching a tablet of their own, and they are about to launch yet another touchscreen device, this time a BlackBerry slider.

So what is Mike Lazaridis talking about? This could be an attempt to pivot the conversation about tablets and touchscreens, and move the discussion to where RIM is more competitive (eg QWERTY devices and productivity). It’s a bit of a slap in the face to Storm owners, when the top executive seems to lack faith in the product they purchased. The message should be: “Touchscreen phones provide new possibilities for interesting UIs and the input makes for some creative applications. Rest assured, RIM will do it better than the rest as we understand how to create a smartphone with real productivity and utility in mind.”
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(Rumor) Details about the upcoming BlackBerry Storm 2

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blackberry touch patent

Simon put up a great post about the soon-to-be-official BlackBerry Storm 2. A RIM sales manager from the Netherlands has acknowledged the second coming of the BlackBerry Storm at the TeleVisie 2009 conference. He says it will come in late 2009 or early 2010 and hints at SureType keyboard improvement and WiFi inclusion – both of which were previously rumored.

Some analysts are guessing the new Storm will use both a touchscreen and a QWERTY keypad a la HTC Touch Pro.

Do you think the BlackBerry Storm would be significantly improved with a QWERTY keypad?

[Via]

BlackBerry Magnum to appear at WES 2009?

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BlackBerry Magnum

Jinkies, it looks like we weren’t totally sniffing the wrong tree when we pointed to 2009 as a possibility for a touchscreen BlackBerry on Rogers. Both BGR and BlackBerry News have posted today about a previously unseen BlackBerry that is reported to make an appearance at WES 2009: the BlackBerry Magnum.

So what exactly is the BlackBerry Magnum? Apparently only a U.S. HSDPA, BlackBerry Curve 8900 form factor with a BlackBerry Storm-like touchscreen. Which, although exciting, kind of sounds like a souped-up Palm Treo. Anyways, the amount of BlackBerrys RIM is looking to release is making my head spin. We’ll tell you more as we learn it.

(via BBNews, BGR)

BlackBerry Thunder touchscreen input pictures emerge

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BlackBerry Thunder Touchscreen Picture

Proving that bloggers aren’t willing to take the weekend off, CrackBerry has produced two new screenshots of the BlackBerry Thunder (or possibly the BlackBerry Storm). If the images tell us one thing, it’s that RIM is dedicating a lot of the Thunder’s screen real estate for text input, likely in an effort to assuage fears of the ‘keypad or nothing’ crowd. Here’s a recap of what’s known about the BlackBerry Thunder’s touchscreen:

Haptic Response – Featuring haptic feedback, the Thunder’s screen pushes in and creates an audible clickety sound and vibration upon input.

Full QWERTY and SureType Entry – As the images show, full QWERTY in landscape mode and SureType entry in portrait mode. Screen/keyboard orientation can be changed at any time.

Multi-touch Glass Screen – Similar to the iPhone, the BlackBerry Thunder will utilize WebKit for it’s browser engine and a glass screen.

OS 4.7 – A little one-upmanship to the BlackBerry Bold’s OS 4.6, likely for the inclusion of touchscreen support.

(via CrackBerry)

Click here for another BlackBerry Thunder touchscreen picture!

What’s the deal with the BlackBerry Thunder?

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Jerry Seinfeld is confused by the BlackBerry Thunder

Obviously, as bloggers, we’re forced to deal with many rumors and half-truths in order to bring you the latest in BlackBerry news. However, the ongoing confusion over RIM’s upcoming CDMA touchscreen device is becoming almost too much to bear.

At first, we thought it was to be called the BlackBerry Storm, then the BlackBerry Thunder. Then we were told its haptic keyboard was fantastic, only to have that idea shot down by the Internet’s resident Deep Throat, the Boy Genius. The gadget nuts over at Gizmodo have now thrown their hat into the ring, claiming through sources that the BlackBerry Thunder was in fact the Storm all along, it will not be delayed, and does, in fact, rock.

The only thing we can be sure of is that nothing is certain until we actually have the device in-hand. Jim-dog, you want to swing by BBCool HQ and give us a demo?

**Update** Boy Genius has now posted a PowerPoint slide as evidence of the BlackBerry Thunder’s namesake.

See BG’s rebuttal after the jump

BlackBerry Thunder keypad still needs work

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BlackBerry Thunder

There have been reports of haptic feedback on the touchscreened BlackBerry Thunder, but development is still very early and not yet perfected. The unreleased device, rumoured to be available sometime this Winter on Verizon, will offer vibrations and clicks when typing on its virtual keypad, which will change from SureType to QWERTY depending on orientation. While that might be a nice consolation for a real keypad, word has it that the early betas aren’t going so smoothly. Regardless, there’s still a long time to go, and if it’s not ready for the rumoured release date, it will get “delayed” for when the Thunder is ready to roll.

(via BGR, CB)