BlackBerry faces stormy AGM as Apple, Google mount pressure

BlackBerry faces stormy AGM as Apple, Google mount pressure

Based at Waterloo near here, the RIM's BlackBerry still holds about 41 percent share of the smartphone platform, followed by  Apple's iPhone 24.4 percent , Microsoft's Windows 13.2 percent,  and Google's Android 13 percent, according to figures available till the end of May.

But with Apple's iPhone4 and new devices with Google's Android operating system entering the market since May, the pressure is mounting on the global wireless giant to maintain its position in the highly competitive smartphone market.

According to reports, it is going to be a watershed meeting as shareholders will pressure the BlackBerry maker to outline its "game-changing" response as Apple's iPhone threatens its number position in the market.

"The perception out there is that Apple is, you know, eating your lunch.  What are you going to do about it? What is your plan of attack," a smartphone market analyst was quoted as saying Monday.

According to a Forbes report in March, iPhone is set to overtake the Canadian icon by early next year. But equally worrying for the BlackBerry maker is the mass appeal of devices with Google's Android operating system.

To meet the challenge, the BlackBerry maker is likely to unveil a new touchscreen phone with a sliding keyboard, and a new operating system and Internet browser soon.

It is also planning a tablet to compete with Apple's iPad. Likely to be launched in December, this first non-hand-held device from the BlackBerry maker will have no mobile networking but will connect to its smart phone devices through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Apple's iPad, which was launched April 3 in the US and nine more markets - Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Japan - May 28, has already sold more than million devices.

According to estimates, Apple is likely to sell 18 million iPads in fiscal year 2010.

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