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BlackBerry Bold 9700
While Android and Apple duke it out, RIM fights to stay relevant

With Android devices gaining ground in the smartphone market, Research in Motion Ltd. -- maker of the BlackBerry -- is looking to hold onto its market share with a few promising new products.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Canadian firm is testing a new touch-screen BlackBerry smartphone with a slide-out Qwerty keyboard. Judging by the report, the unnamed device sounds like it will sport a capacitive screen with multi-touch capabilities, a 5-megapixel camera, and a built-in search bar -- not exactly earth-shattering considering these feature come standard even on low-end Android devices. The device from RIM will run a new version of the BlackBerry OS software, which includes an updated Web browser. 

The same report also mentions a tablet device -- akin to Apple's iPad -- that would serve as a companion to the BlackBerry. Though the tablet is in early stages of development, WSJ's sources say it could hit store shelves before the end of the year.

RIM still holds the largest share of the smartphone market in the U.S., with a 38% share of smartphones sold in the first quarter of 2010. That number, however, is down from 54% from the same quarter last year. 

News of the company's upcoming devices comes on the heels of a settlement of a long-running legal dispute between RIM and Motorola. A press release from RIM had this to say: 

Under the Agreement, Motorola and RIM will benefit from a long-term, intellectual property   cross-licensing arrangement involving the parties receiving cross- licenses of various patent   rights, including patent rights relating to certain industry standards and certain technologies,   such as 2G, 3G, 4G, 802.11 and wireless email. 

The settlement will allow both companies to cut litigation costs and share patents to the above-mentioned technologies, as well as patents related to application management, user interface, and power management, the International Business Times reports.





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