Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is gearing up to release a slate of new high-end, high-risk products, including a new BlackBerry slider smartphone and a potential tablet product.
The company is holding an invitation-only event in New York City tomorrow at which it is widely expected RIM will unveil the BlackBerry 9800 slider touchscreen device, running its refreshed Blackberry OS 6. RIM has declined to comment on the event, but the invitation it sent out for the event prominently featured AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) logo.
"I think they are trying to create a little drama," Altimeter Group Michael Gartenberg told Reuters. "When you raise expectations like that, you really then have to deliver." Indeed, RIM has been promoting its forthcoming, revamped operating system for months; the platform's multimedia capabilities and streamlined user interface and browser are steps the company has taken to address competition from the likes of Apple and Android.
RIM's choice of AT&T as a carrier partner for its launch is a notable reversal, as RIM previously relied on Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) to promote its BlackBerry Storm, its first touchscreen device. Verizon recently forged a much closer relationship with Google and has been busy promoting Android devices like the Motorola (NYSE:MOT) Droid X and the HTC Incredible.
The new slider smartphone is not all RIM has in the works though; according to a Bloomberg report, which cited two unnamed sources, the BlackBerry maker also plans to release a tablet in November with dimensions similar to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. The tablet--rumored to be called the "Blackpad"--will include WiFi and Bluetooth, and users will be able to connect to the Internet via their BlackBerry phone, the report said. RIM declined to comment on the report.
If true, RIM wouldn't be alone in tablets. Motorola is rumored to be working on an Android tablet, and Samsung and LG have indicated they plan to release tablets of their own in the coming months. The efforts follow on the heels of Apple's massive iPad success; the company said it sold a whopping 3.27 million iPads during its most recent quarter.
That RIM has new products in the pipeline is not a surprise; the company said during its most recent quarterly conference call that it is planning two significant product launches that will carry high average selling prices. The company said at the time the gadgets will be launched across the company's fiscal second and third quarters.
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