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RIM Co-CEO: More Touch-Screen BlackBerries Coming
In a Q&A with Laptop Magazine , Lazaridis touched on everything from RIM's battle against the Apple iPhone for smartphone dominance; the process of application pricing for BlackBerry App World; and improvements BlackBerry has in the pipeline.
While Lazaridis was vague with most answers, he made it clear that the BlackBerry Storm, despite some initial hurdles, was only the first touch-screen BlackBerry would bring to market, meaning more are coming. He also noted that while the Storm initially was criticized, RIM is working to shake out the initial bugs the Storm faced in future touch-screen releases.
"That's our first touch product, and you know nobody gets it perfect out the door," Lazaridis said. "You know other companies were having problems with their first releases."
As for user complaints that RIM rushed the Storm to market and released a buggy device to make the critical Black Friday shopping day, Lazaridis denied those claims, saying the Storm was thoroughly tested before it hit store shelves. The criticism, however, did make an impact and Lazaridis said RIM will work to make its future touch-screen releases better.
"We didn't stop and we've never stopped," he said. "We just keep making our products better and better. We've got really passionate engineers here, and developers, and you know they want to win. They want to make the best products. They really want to make their customers happy with them. They want them to be delighted."
RIM and Verizon Wireless debuted the Storm last November, which officially marked RIM's attempt to unseat the Apple iPhone 3G in the clash of the touch-screen titans. RIM's first touch-screen smartphone sparked a host of comparisons between the Storm and the iPhone, many of which considered the iPhone the superior device.
The Storm also encountered speed bumps in its first few months of release, with users criticizing the touch-screen interface, its lack of Wi-Fi and its lack of a physical QWERTY keyboard, a staple of many BlackBerry models that users have grown accustomed to.
Despite being called a flop by some analysts and news outlets, Verizon, the Storm's exclusive carrier, said it sold more than 1 million BlackBerry Storms in the smartphone's first two months on the market.
Lazaridis' promise of future touch-screen BlackBerries comes on the heels of rumors that the Canadian smartphone maker is preparing to release the second-generation BlackBerry Storm, dubbed the BlackBerry Storm 2, in September.
The Storm 2 is expected to one-up the original version with the addition of Wi-Fi connectivity, the lack of which was a major sticking point for some BlackBerry users considering the original Storm. Along with Wi-Fi, the Storm 2 is also expected to offer 3G connectivity.