August 5, 2011 3:56 pm

RIM and Huawei unveil smartphones

Two companies from opposite sides of the globe launched new smartphones this week with quite different goals.

For Canada’s Research in Motion it is about remaining relevant in the increasingly competitive smartphone market; for Huawei it is a key part of a strategy designed to catapult the Chinese network gear maker into the top tier of global smartphone makers by the middle of this decade.

RIM’s five new BlackBerrys include two touchscreen-only devices, the slider-style Torch 9810 and two ultra-thin models with RIM’s trademark mini qwerty keyboards. All come with 1.2Ghz processors and BlackBerry OS7, the company’s latest operating system.

They will be available globally over the next few months and while analysts, such as Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets view them as “evolutionary, not revolutionary products,” most agree they should help RIM halt the slide in its US market share and consolidate its position elsewhere.

In contrast, Huawei’s Google Android-powered Vision smartphone, available next month, looks like a clone of Samsung’s popular Nexus S handset but features a flashy new 3D-esque user interface developed by Huawei. Analysts noted that its high-end specifications and Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system show the Chinese company is serious about becoming a top-three smartphone vendor by 2015.

Both companies share a common rival: Apple is widely expected to launch the iPhone 5 next month, despite reports this week that it had been pushed back to October.

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