Blackberry to launch iPhone competitor?

Research in Motion, the maker of Blackberry smartphones, is rumoured to be working on a touchscreen version of its Blackberry phone.

Expected to be released in Q1 2008, the Blackberry 9000 will come without a proper keyboard and will target consumer market rather than the corporate segment where Blackberry is already a popular choice.

In an article published by Unstrung, Carmi Levy, an analyst at AR communications Ltd describes the 9000-series as the "future of the Blackberry Franchise".

Blackberry does not offer any touchscreen devices, relying instead on a trusted dual function keyboard for its Blackberry Pearl consumer phones.

A rival to Blackberry, Palm, has released a smartphone called Centro that actually looks like a Blackberry with a low price (GBP 50 on a contract), with a touchscreen, full QWERTY keyboard and camera.

Amongst expected features to come with the Centro are 3G functionality, GPS location tracking as well as multi megapixels digital camera.