Research In Motion announced a new BlackBerry model Tuesday that will provide wireless voice and data access over both cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
RIM President and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis also said the attention Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Apple's iPhone have brought to the sector has benefited RIM.
"Hats off to Mr. Jobs for growing the whole industry," Lazaridis said Tuesday night at RIM's annual shareholder meeting in Waterloo, Ontario. "We all knew the smartphone market was growing. Some of us believe that eventually all phones will be smartphones. I think what the iPhone announcement did was that it just accelerated the public's awareness and acceptance of a smartphone."
RIM's latest product launch comes as it competes in the United States with Apple's heavily hyped iPhone, which began selling in the U.S. last month. The iPhone can handle phone calls, e-mail, Web browsing, music and videos.
Waterloo-based RIM has been targeting the consumer market after enjoying success in the corporate market for years. RIM's push e-mail software allows customers to access their e-mail on their wireless devices in real time.
The new BlackBerry 8820 will be RIM's first dual-mode smartphone and its thinnest with a full keyboard. It will be available through AT&T Inc. in the U.S. later this summer.
"The BlackBerry 8820 complements our carrier partners' cellular networks with the added ability to stay connected via Wi-Fi at home, through hotspots and corporate campuses," Lazaridis said.
The 8820 also features GPS satellite navigation — allowing it to pinpoint its location and give directions. It also plays music and videos.
RIM announced last month that its BlackBerry subscriber accounts grew by about 1.2 million during the first quarter for a total of 9.2 million.
The company's stock has surged 39 percent since June 28, when the company announced that first-quarter earnings grew 73 percent thanks to increased sales and subscriber additions — many of them international subscribers. The stock closed up $3.53 to $230.07 on Tuesday.
RIM's market capitalization of $42.8 billion is now bigger than that of mobile giant Motorola Inc.