Research in Motion is rumored to be working on a touch screen phone hybrid that also includes a slider style keyboard, according to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal and our previous reports dubbing the device the BlackBerry Storm 3. Those familiar with the new hardware claim it is not unlike Apple’s iPhone and boasts many similar technical feats, possibly similar to RIM’s patents from 2008.
Just a few of these features include pinch zooming, landscape on-screen QWERTY keyboard and page-like finger swiping. According to the anonymous source, a universal search feature that scours not only the phone’s local memory, but the internet as well will be included. The browser is said to be based on Apple’s WebKit, a rumor that has been lingering since around early February. The web surfing app is expected to have the capability to significantly outpace the current BlackBerry browser and will be able to open multiple pages (or tabs) simultaneously. The device is expected to pack a 5 megapixel camera, 4GB of internal storage and run on BlackBerry 6, RIM’s forthcoming operating system that is to launch later this year.
This is most certainly RIM’s response to Apple’s success to the recent announcement of the iPhone 4. Apple’s stake in market share has made RIM very cautious. Current BlackBerry operating systems are clunky and difficult to navigate when compared to Apple’s slick and simple layout. RIM has 7000 apps in comparison to the 225,000 features within Apple’s app store. In March’s quarter, RIM’s North American smartphone shipments dropped from 54% (previous years quarter) to 38% recently. In contrast, Apple has grabbed 23% of the market share in the same period, up from 18%. RIM seems poised to ready a response to the iPhone 4 and this mysterious device may be an important part of their strategically planned counterpunch.