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RIM may offer touch-screen BlackBerry

Chief Jim Balsillie says new versions of the device will take into consideration what consumers are demanding.

Research In Motion may bring out a touch-screen version of its popular BlackBerry e-mail device if customers want it, according to co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie, who expects to deliver new high-speed devices soon.

Balsillie declined to give details about future product plans. But when asked if RIM would bring out a touch-screen version of BlackBerry, which is well-liked for its miniature computer-like keyboard, he said it was important to be flexible to customers' demands.

"For sure we're looking at all kinds of different device packaging and presentation," Balsillie said in an interview with Reuters at the Mobile World Congress.

"I think getting religious on packaging is not the way to go," he said. "It's really user preference-oriented."

Aside from established wireless players, RIM also faces competition from rivals such as Apple's iPhone, which has won praise for its innovative touch-screen control. But one criticism against iPhone has been its lack of a corporate e-mail service, RIM's core strength.

Balsillie said the company would introduce devices based on HSDPA, a high-speed wireless technology that is popular in Europe and used in the United States by wireless service AT&T.

"Certainly going to HSDPA is something that's very important to us in the near term," Balsillie said.

He said that while other handset makers were focusing on expanding their relationships with consumers, RIM was happy with its strategy of selling through carriers.