RIM to Launch Touchscreen BlackBerry ‘Soon’: Verizon

Research In Motion (RIM) is preparing to launch the long anticipated touch-screen version of its BlackBerry smartphone, according to an official promotion e-mail from U.S. carrier Verizon Wireless.

The device will be known as the BlackBerry Storm 9530 and will feature “global capabilities”, Verizon said, without providing specifics. It also did not give an exact launch date, saying only that the smartphone is “coming soon”.

Technology bloggers and analysts have speculated since early this year that Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM was working on a touch device as an answer to Apple’s popular iPhone. In February, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie told Reuters the company may launch a touch device if consumers want it. And in May, media reports said the touch-screen BlackBerry would be called Thunder and would likely launch in the third quarter of this year.

A RIM spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment. RIM shares were up 71 Canadian cents at C$102.10 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski. Editing by Peter Galloway.)