BlackBerry 8800 vs Apple iPhone This week’s launch of the 8800, and the features contained therein, leads to the obvious question. Is Research In Motion positioning itself early to take on the new Apple iPhone?

The slimmest version of the device yet, the BlackBerry 8800 also features a music and video player, a global positioning system and a full keyboard. RIM is clearly trying to hold onto its lead in the North American smartphone market by rekindling enthusiasm for the BlackBerry before the rival Apple iPhone is released this June.

The market for phones with web access may rise to 250 million units by next year from almost 90 million in 2006, according to Finnish phone maker Nokia. Motorola, the world's second-largest mobile-phone maker, recently introduced new versions of its Q e-mail phone, at the 3GSM World Congress technology conference in Barcelona, Spain and Nokia, the largest mobile-phone maker, also showed three models for business use.

Sales of phones with computer-like functions tripled in the US from January to October 2006, according to researcher NPD Group in Port Washington, New York. BlackBerry led U.S. sales for e-mail phones in the third quarter with 31.6 percent of the total, slightly ahead of Palm Inc.'s Treo with 31.5 percent, and Motorola with 12.2 percent and Nokia with 6.4 percent.