RIM broadens consumer ambitions

Handheld device maker says its new BlackBerry Curve will help grow its consumer business, but maintains that it still has its eye on the enterprise space.

SINGAPORE--Research In Motion (RIM) is eyeing a bigger piece of the consumer market with its latest product, the BlackBerry Curve, although it remains focused on the enterprise market.

Speaking at the launch of the BlackBerry Curve here Tuesday, Norm Lo, RIM's vice president for Asia-Pacific, said he is confident that the BlackBerry Curve will do as well as the BlackBerry Pearl, its first consumer handheld launched in September 2006.

"The Pearl, and now the Curve, has universal appeal. It's very easy to use, stylish and has great functionality, and the end result--the sales, prove that," Lo said.

Emphasizing the intention to grow both sides of the business, Lo maintains that RIM is "definitely not switching from enterprises to consumers".

"We're still very much focused on enterprises, and we've got a very compelling roadmap--both from a handset and middleware point of view," he added, referring to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

"Clearly, we're growing our base on the enterprise side, [and] there's still lots of growth in the enterprise," Lo said. "But on top of that, we're having this brand new segment where we're really growing strongly, and that is really accelerating our overall business."

Lo claims the BlackBerry Curve meets the needs of today's consumers. "They want capabilities that allow [them] to also address their personal life, whether it's for entertainment or whether it's just for communication and staying connected," he said.

Designed for the mobile consumer, the BlackBerry Curve sports a camera, expandable memory to store personal information, Web browser, as well as instant messaging and e-mail applications.

Besides Singapore, the BlackBerry Curve has been launched in India, Australia and Hong Kong, with other countries in the Asia-Pacific to follow, according to RIM.