#12 Newsmaker: Mike Lazardis of Research in Motion

Research in Motion (TSE: RIM) has been written off more times than we can count, and 2010 was certainly no exception. Whether it would be the iPhone, the iPad or the Android OS that would do the deed, analysts were quick several times to write off the Waterloo, Ont.-based technology leader.

Ignoring the naysayers, RIM’s co-founder and CEO, Mike Lazardis, instead focused on proving them wrong once again, as the company made progress on several key fronts, winning investor support for continued strong earnings that continue to confound the skeptics.

RIM was busy on the product front bringing several new offerings to market and previewing one major one: its answer to the Apple iPad. The buzz had been RIM’s entry in the burgeoning tablet market would be called the BlackPad. Instead, RIM showed-off the PlayBook in September, with an eye on the business market.

The 7” high-resolution display sports a 1 GHz dual-core processor, and a new BlackBerry Tablet OS. The platform supports multi-tasking, HTML5, Adobe Flash 10.1 and Adobe AIR. Other features include dual HD video cameras – one for taking photos and video, the other for videoconferencing and an HDMI output for external displays. BlackBerry users can do a Bluetooth paring to the tablet device to access any of their phone’s data on the larger screen. Availability is expected in 2011.

While RIM answered the iPad with the PlayBook, its answer for the iPhone was released in 2010 with the BlackBerry Torch. RIM heralded the BlackBerry Torch as the best BlackBerry yet, with its sliding keyboard design, touchscreen and five-megapixel camera.

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