RIM Engineers Call Touchscreen Blackberry "Apple Killer"

A New York Times story about the iPhone's assault on Blackberry-maker RIM has a couple of interesting bits in it, notably that RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis isn't a fan of touchscreens ("I couldn't type on it and I still can't type on it, and a lot of my friends can't type on it") but RIM's hard at work on the long-rumored touchscreen Blackberry anyway, which RIM engineers have privately dubbed "the A.K.—for 'Apple Killer.'"

Obviously fighting words, but they still make us more eager than ever to see their efforts on the touchscreen front—especially given how much RIM's CEO dislikes touchscreen keyboards. Can they make a touchscreen phone that'll satisfy hardcore Crackberry addicts weaned on a physical keyboard and swipe some of the iPhone's cachet at the same time?

The other morsel is that one of their major strategies is to stick close to carriers, rather than the odd frenemy relationship Apple and Google have with them, even if it winds up killing RIM. Its other CEO, Jim Balsillie, says that "It may be a better strategy to fight the carrier. We may be wrong. The carrier may get disintermediated, in which case we fade with them." Guess he's not of the "better to burn out" philosophy—though a hot new Blackberry wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for RIM right now. [NYT]