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RIM CEO: We were pulled into the consumer market

BlackBerry maker's chief says the company has learned that it must make a wide range of devices to fulfill expectations.

CARLSBAD, Calif.--Research In Motion didn't set out to make devices for the everyman, but that's where the company has ended up.

RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis, speaking at the D: All Things Digital event Wednesday in Carlsbad, Calif. Ina Fried/CNET

In a talk Wednesday at D: All Things Digital, CEO Mike Lazaridis talked about the company's move from making e-mail devices for executives, to making phones for the masses.

"We literally were pulled into the consumer space," he said. "We entered that market deliberately with the BlackBerry Pearl."

It's still a journey that is just beginning, he said, adding that the company has learned how intensely personal the phone is as compared to other gadgets.

The closer a technology gets to a person, the more it has to represent our values, our styles," he said. "It's not a one-size-fits-all (business)."

That the company didn't set out to be a consumer company doesn't mean it didn't see a big future for the BlackBerry, even in its early days as a black-and-white e-mail only device.

"We had to disguise these things as pagers," Lazaridis said. "We always knew this was a new platform, that this was something special."

Lazaridis wouldn't talk much about the next version of the company's touchscreen Storm device. He did downplay the notion of a BlackBerry tablet.

"Is it as convenient?" he said. "Would you carry it around if you couldn't put it in your pocket?"

Lazaridis said that the slowing of cellular networks due to smartphone usage was the "white elephant in the room."

"We're already seeing this slowdown in the networks. that's already happening."