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Today is crucial for RIM

Research In Motion is set to launch a new BlackBerry today that’sexpected to take on Apple’s iPhone — a key event the company likelydoesn’t want overshadowed by restrictions on its devices in the UnitedArab Emirates.

Research In Motion is set to launch a new BlackBerry today that’s expected to take on Apple’s iPhone — a key event the company likely doesn’t want overshadowed by restrictions on its devices in the United Arab Emirates.

In New York, the BlackBerry maker is expected to unveil a new touchscreen smartphone with a pull-out keyboard and a new operating system to make Internet surfing faster. The phones will run on U.S. carrier AT&T’s network.

Wunderlich Securities Inc. analyst Matt Robison said RIM needs to introduce a strong product, or the UAE’s recently announced restrictions on email, texting and web browsing will carry more weight.

“We believe the nature of the Middle Eastern news is distracting enough that (today’s) AT&T event must include a compelling introduction of a BlackBerry 6 phone with a multitouch to overcome it,” Robison wrote in a research note.

Research In Motion is competing for consumers’ loyalty against not only the iPhone, but Google-powered Android smartphones, which have touchscreens and pullout keyboards.

RIM released a touchscreen phone almost two years ago to mixed reviews and analysts have often asked when it will introduce an “iPhone killer.”

RIM said yesterday it won’t compromise security after the Persian Gulf country said it will ban email, messaging and web browsing on its smartphones.

 
 
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