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RIM Co-CEO: BlackBerry Storm 2 On The Way

One of RIM's top executives has said that an updated version of the BlackBerry Storm, possibly the Storm 2, is in development.

more touch-screen BlackBerry smartphones are on the way

Balsillie confirmed during a briefing with analysts and investors that the new touch-screen smartphone, potentially to be named the BlackBerry Storm 2, is in development, according to Reuters.

In true BlackBerry fashion, Balsillie offered little insight into new features of the "next-generation" Storm, nor did he mention a possible release date.

Balsillie said the BlackBerry Storm, which was released last November to little fanfare, is a "huge success in terms of sales and adoption." Balsillie added that "we have next-generation devices with that and the whole roadmap," Reuters reported.

Last month, rumors of the successor to the BlackBerry Storm began in earnest. At the time, popular gadget blogs noted that the BlackBerry Storm 2 will feature Wi-Fi, a major feature lacking in the original touch-screen Storm. The second-generation Storm is also expected to feature vastly improved touch-screen technology. The BlackBerry Storm 2 could hit Verizon Wireless' network as soon as September, several blogs have noted.

The original BlackBerry Storm was RIM's answer to the immensely popular Apple iPhone 3G and RIM's official entrance into the clash of the touch-screen titans.

RIM's first touch-screen device features the standard BlackBerry e-mail, calendaring, messaging and mobile Web capabilities, along with a host of multimedia capabilities like GPS, video, music and more. The Storm also features a 3.2-megapixel camera with zoom, flash and video-recording capabilities.

At the time of its launch, smartphone users were critical of the Storm, chiding it for slow performance. RIM, too, had hurdles to overcome, as the BlackBerry Storm required a host of software patches and upgrades to get the device running smoothly. Other sticking points for users was the lack of Wi-Fi support and the "clickable" touch screen, which depresses the screen slightly and makes an audible sound while users type the virtual QWERTY keyboard. Many users found the touch-screen sticky and annoying.

While the original Storm got off to a rocky start with its release, the 3G smartphone has been slowly rebounding. Verizon Wireless in January said that one million Storms had been sold in the smartphone's first three months, a number that continues to grow. And this week, data released by NPD Group showed that the BlackBerry Storm placed third among the top five selling consumer smartphones in the first quarter, just behind the BlackBerry Curve and Apple iPhone 3G.

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