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RIM is Mum About the Launch of AppleBerry

Closely following recent market research study results indicating that mainstream consumers aren't embracing digital media on their mobile phone, a surprise contender has decided to enter the heated contest.

Media features and lifestyle applications will be key to the ability of RIM's BlackBerry e-mail device to capture a bigger slice of the broader consumer market, the company's co-chief executive said on Tuesday.

"We'll be definitely supporting more forms of media, it's a big part of our direction," Jim Balsillie told Reuters, adding that delivering features such as photography, music and video with the BlackBerry "opens up some bigger markets".

"It's totally adjacent and complementary in some respects, but also in other respects it lays right on top of our existing market." The BlackBerry has become a staple for business people, politicians, lawyers and other professionals, but has yet to gain widespread popularity among mainstream users of portable technology.

Balsillie declined to answer a question about rumors that RIM is partnering with Apple Computer Inc. to create what has been dubbed by some as the 'AppleBerry,' a device combining the BlackBerry's features with iTunes music software, as well as potentially camera and video capabilities.

Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek wrote in a note last month that an AppleBerry combination would have "huge merit" and could take several forms, including Apple's iTunes being embedded into RIM's devices or a completely new device co-developed by the two companies.

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