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RIM's Blackberry Readies for New Competition

Techstination feature for Tuesday, January 29, 2002

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... the folks who make a device called the Blackberry should be very flattered. Bloomberg Boot Camp... a report on today's technology. With a small but usable keyboard... and always on wireless connection to send a receive secure corporate email... along with personal organizer functions... the Blackberry has become an indispensable device for about a million people. But now it faces new competition... from, for instance, the always on Palm i705 handheld...

"Really what the product is ... is trying to be like a Blackberry."

Research in Motion Chairman and co-CEO Jim Balsillie. The company has continued to invest in research, at the expense of profits, but Balsillie expects that to pay off soon. Its technology will be used in new devices from Nextel ... and other yet to be announced partners... that will take advantage of higher speed data networks...

"Well what it means is that you have a product that can now be like a Blackberry which is obviously very, very popular... but you can also talk in it. That a cell phone is a software function on a Blackberry appliance. And that's a powerful revolution in the industry."

And the phones... which should be available later this year... will have those little Blackberry keyboards that are now being widely imitated. And so for now... Balsillie tells us putting the money into research... is more important than profits...

"Every fiber of experience in us says invest aggressively in these growth opportunities."

Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.