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RIM opens new HQ

Defying today's gloomy economic news, the company behind BlackBerry smartphone handsets opened a regional headquarters in North Sydney.

The economic news may be increasingly dire, forcing both consumers and technology vendors to make some cut backs, but it seems our fascination with smartphones may keep that market segment fairly buoyant.

Indeed Canadian-based Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind the smartphone BlackBerry Bold, Curve, Pearl and Storm handsets, has in fact today opened a new regional headquarters in North Sydney to serve its customers in Australia and New Zealand.

RIM introduced its first BlackBerry handset 10 years ago and experienced massive growth as customers became enamoured with its wireless email capabilities. In fact, owners glued to their BlackBerry devices gave rise to the term "CrackBerry addicts".

In a publicity coup for RIM that money just can't buy, the world's most famous BlackBerry user, US President Barak Obama, made headlines by fighting to keep using his beloved BlackBerry after his inauguration. Claiming that he needed it to continue to keep in touch with people and avoid getting "stuck in a bubble", Obama will be allowed to use a security-enhanced handset, thus making him the first US president to use email regularly.

This model posing with a BlackBerry Storm at the beach should be happy he doesn't have to work out of BlackBerry's new, but dull cubicles in North Sydney. (Credit: Research in Motion)