Lazaridis won't be drawn on whether there are BlackBerry handsets under development that will combine a keyboard and touchscreen. We suggested that the Bold could get a touch screen or the Storm could gain a real keyboard to take advantage of these new gestures and he did point out that RIM plans to launch more than the Pearl 3G this year.

"How many devices did we launch last year? 10 at least. We've got a few left to come this year." But he emphasises that keyboard users won't be left out: "The design brief was that it had to work with the trackpad as well as the touch screen so it can go across the whole spectrum of devices."

When we ask about his plans for getting to the 100 million BlackBerry users he's predicted for next year (more than double the current 41 million) in the face of iPhone 4 and Android's increasing popularity, he mentions BlackBerry's advantages like long battery life and bandwidth efficiency and the fact that there are so many form factors already.

People want choice

"People want the choice of keyboard and screens - and they also want a choice of different styles and colours and they want personalisation. We have the right products and the right experiences to continue to lead this industry."

He also believes that "competition is a good thing" – for RIM and for the other players in the market – as long as the comparisons are fair. "If you take a look at what's happening with other devices, I think you've got to be very careful. They're often given a lot of slack and that gets people into trouble. You have to ask yourself 'is it really multitasking? Is it really push?' because if it's not done right you end up with something that really isn't what you want and really isn't something you can afford. And I think this whole security thing is way under-rated."

He calls the QNX acquisition "a big deal, a very big deal" for making the BlackBerry integrate with car systems (an area where Android has been getting more interest than iPhone recently).

"The biggest problem we've had, for all this adoption of all this cool stuff it's all disparate system that have to be put together - even with the Bluetooth standard it's still a confusing thing. So what we're going to so with QNX is to make it all automatic.

"We've got all kinds of very interesting things you can do when you're connected; the car can use your device, you can use the car… It's very cool stuff. All these things you've been hearing about, all these futuristic visions - the concept cars of apps and interoperability - we're actually going to pull it off!"

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Liked this? Then check out Hands on: BlackBerry Pearl 3G review

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