The New York Times published an article yesterday, BlackBerry's Quest: Fend Off the iPhone. For the most part the the story doesn't offer any ground breaking news or rumor us CrackBerrys haven't heard before, but does include a an interesting uncited reference:
..two independent developers writing software for coming R.I.M. devices say that a touch-screen BlackBerry is in the works, and that R.I.M. engineers privately refer to it as the A.K. â€” for â€śApple Killer.â€ťÂ
I'm sure A.K. would be the private, joked-around nickname for the touchscreen device RIM has in development, though it would be PRETTY COOL if that was the company's official code name for it. I can just picture a BlackBerry dressed as Rambo carrying an A.K.47 and hunting down iPhones.
While no specific information was released in regards to RIM's future devices, the article does provide insight into RIM's take on smartphone demands and some reassurance that a touchscreen BlackBerry is something we may be seeing sooner than later:
THEREâ€™S a reason that R.I.M. is averse to the iPhoneâ€™s glass pad. â€śI couldnâ€™t type on it and I still canâ€™t type on it, and a lot of my friends canâ€™t type on it,â€ť says Mike Lazaridis, R.I.M.â€™s co-chief executive and technological visionary. â€śItâ€™s hard to type on a piece of glass.â€ť
Mr. Lazaridis thinks that e-mail-dependent BlackBerry owners demand the reliability and tactile feedback of a keyboard. But, despite his critique of the iPhone, he does not dismiss the possibility that R.I.M. may itself one day sell a touch-screen phone, aimed specifically at consumers without the e-mail demands of BlackBerryâ€™s core users."
Mr. Lazaridis says only that â€śI wouldnâ€™t underestimate the amount of research weâ€™ve done on user interfaces and technologies. We are not afraid to reinvent ourselves.â€ť
I'll reserve my judgement as to whether or not I'd like a touchscreen BlackBerry until I actually get to use one. I'm of the belief that whatever RIM does, they do pretty darn well. The bigger issue for me is When Will It Be Available?! It seems to me an evolutionary operating system update like 4.5 is taking forever to release... are we looking at 2008, early 2009 or is it going to be 2010 before A.K. hits the market?