New BlackBerry to Be Released in United States in March

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Heins told the AP it depends on the carriers, but said keyboard versions will likely be released eight to 10 weeks after a carrier releases the touch version.

That could mean the Q10 keyboard version might not be released in the U.S. until much later than mid-March or April.

Some analysts have questioned RIM for releasing a touch version first considering its most loyal users love the physical keyboard for typing.

Heins said the full touch screen was more complicated and they needed to focus on releasing that first. He has also acknowledged that RIM failed to quickly adapt to the emerging "bring your own device" trend, in which employees bring their personal touch-screen iPhones or Android devices to work instead of relying on BlackBerrys issued by their employers

Heins said they want to participate in that trend by releasing a touch version first.

Heins also addressed possible interest other companies might have in RIM should BlackBerry 10 prove successful and whether the Canadian government might block a foreign takeover.

"The recognition for BlackBerry 10 and what we built is pretty high. We got good reviews," he said. "That moves you into the middle of the radar screen so I expect some activity around it but we'll look at it one by one. We'll assess it and we'll make decisions with the board on what make sense."

Heins recently chatted with top Canadian government ministers, including the industry minister, at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"These guys are reasonable, rational people. At the end of the day it's about employment, it's about economic health, it's about Canada playing a major role," Heins said. "If the right logic and rational applies I don't think they will just block it for their own sake. They could have done it with Nortel and the patents."

Several months ago RIM's decline evoked memories of Nortel, a former Canadian tech giant, which declared bankruptcy in 2009 and was picked over for its patents.

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