Shares of Research In Motion Ltd. soared nearly 7 per cent yesterday after the wireless e-mail pioneer took the wrap off a new BlackBerry device that had been the subject of leaks and speculation for weeks.
The first BlackBerry to support so-called third generation, or “3G,” wireless technology on GSM networks, is expected to be available by “summer 2008,” RIM said. Details of the device, including photos and technical specifications, had been leaked in bits and pieces on the Internet for the past few months.
RIM touted the BlackBerry Bold as a “top-of-the-line, high-performance smartphone designed for professionals.” It will likely also appeal to consumers, thanks to its camera, video recording and enhanced web browsing capabilities.
Co-CEO Jim Balsillie said the BlackBerry Bold is evidence that RIM, which claims nearly 40 per cent of its 14 million subscribers are now consumers, hasn’t forgot about its core base of corporate clients and their need for secure wireless e-mail.
The unveiling of the BlackBerry Bold comes amid speculation that Apple Inc. is preparing to launch a 3G-version of its consumer-oriented iPhone device in June.
That has led some to wonder whether RIM’s strategy is to first defend its core market of business users before plunging further into the consumer space — perhaps with a similar touchscreen device.