Could it be that a touchscreen BlackBerry device is imminent? Following revelations earlier this month that BlackBerry filed a patent application for a touchscreen LCD display in the US, Research in Motion co-chief executive, Jim Balsillie, has refused to rule anything out at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

When asked about the possible introduction of a touchscreen BlackBerry by journalists at the Congress, Balsillie is reported to have said, “For sure we're looking at all kinds of different device packaging and presentation.”

HDSPA functionality

However, Balsillie refused to reveal any concrete plans for future products – as did BlackBerry’s UK PR agency when TechRadar called to ask for comment – but all the signs are that such a device could be on the way. Balsillie did confirm that the company will be introducing HDSPA functionality to its range in the near future.

If the touchscreen rumours do have any substance, then it would be an entirely sensible step for BlackBerry's parent company, Research in Motion, to take. Introduced in 1999, the BlackBerry was initially marketed as the ‘e-mail phone’, quickly finding favour with corporate America. However, eight years on and the current BlackBerry range doesn’t have quite the same ‘wow factor’ it once did – especially when compared to the all-conquering iPhone. Crucially for BlackBerry, the iPhone now has its own business tariff in the US.

And it doesn’t stop there, either. BlackBerry actually finds itself facing smartphone competition from just about any direction it cares to look. Only this week, Sony Ericsson announced the XPERIA X1, HTC announced the X7510, and LG announced the KT610. All three can do email, browse the net and execute all kinds of clever multimedia tasks.

If BlackBerry really wants to get its mojo back then the company will also need to improve its record for service stability, after large parts of the US and Canada experienced service outage on Monday. BlackBerry said it was looking into what caused the problem. It was the company's second major outage in less than a year.