RIM's new phone and tablet: Can they fend off Apple, Android?

Research in Motion has a new BlackBerry in the works and a companion tablet, but the big question is whether the two devices can regain some buzz.

Research in Motion has a new BlackBerry in the works and a companion tablet, but the big question is whether the two devices can regain some buzz.

According to the Wall Street Journal, RIM is testing what sounds like a Storm with a QWERTY slider keyboard. Other goodies include BlackBerry OS 6 and a 5 megapixel camera. The report echoes a lot of what has been appearing on various gadget blogs. The RIM tablet is designed to be a companion device and not a standalone unit.

These devices are about getting RIM back into the smartphone game. RIM needs a better browser and a new phone is expected in the September quarter.

RIM talked up its OS 6 at its latest conference for developers and customers. See:

RIM's chores:

  • Catch up to Android's innovation cycle.
  • Fend off Apple's iPhone.
  • Maintain dominance in the enterprise.
  • Cultivate better developer relations.

RIM is talking a good game, but these devices may tell the tale since they land in the critical shopping season. Piper Jaffray analyst T. Michael Walkley sums it up

At its recent analyst day, RIM launched the Blackberry Bold 9650 and the Pearl 3G with both devices shipping in May. Further, RIM also announced BB 6.0 will be available during the September quarter, which is in line with our expectations for new devices shipping at end of RIM's August quarter. However, given our expectations for a new iPhone at AT&T combined with growing momentum for Android smartphones at Verizon, we believe RIM's new devices may struggle to regain share of the high-end North American smartphone market.

The success of these devices in the September and December quarters will determine whether RIM can fend off both Apple and Android.