After delays, RIM prepares 7 new phones

Blackberry maker RIM is finally ready to introduce new smartphones to the market.

The company has been working hard behind-the-scenes to create a new operating system that will be more relevant against the Android- and iPhone-dominated market.

But there have been delays, which isn’t surprising given RIM’s track record over the last couple years. Nevertheless, it says it’s ready to come out fighting and put its new products head-to-head with the competition.

At an annual RIM meeting yesterday, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said there will be seven new phones heading to the market in the coming months, and all will be powered by a brand new, completely overhauled operating system.

Last time RIM introduced a new version of its Blackberry OS, it didn’t work out too well. The company heralded many of its new features as exciting and game-changing, but they were really just the same things Android and iOS had practically from day one.

It ended up making RIM look like a deluded, out-of-touch company and instead of making Blackberry relevant again, the platform just kept losing market share. In a market where changes historically take years to unfold, Blackberry has been sloughing off market share at double-digit year-to-year rates.

The Playbook, RIM’s iPad-competitor tablet, has gained praise for finally bringing a 21st century mobile OS to the RIM product line, but the limited selection of apps and lack of native support for things like e-mail and Blackberry Messenger have led to an overall negative reception.

So there aren’t exactly a lot of high expectations for RIM’s next move, but it would certainly be refreshing if the company managed to surprise us.