For those gadget junkies out there who just couldn't bring themselves to pick off Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) first-generation iPhone last year, they had fewer excuses once Steve Jobs made the second generation faster than Superman ... well, OK, faster than the first generation, anyway.

Now Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is hoping that its BlackBerry Bold will see a similar boost in device uptake as the new handheld takes advantage of AT&T's (NYSE:T) high-speed network, rather than its slower but ubiquitous EDGE network that many do not consider true broadband. And while AT&T's offering price -- $300 with a two-year contract -- isn't on par with the lowest grade of iPhone, its heavily discounted price will still be tempting to the mainstream market.

With the added speed, RIM is aiming to mollify customers who complain of slow download and browsing speeds on BlackBerry handhelds, and to put its system in the fast lane with the best media-rich smartphones out there. Now those AT&T users who were waiting to treat themselves this holiday can stack the Bold up more directly against the iPhone, as the Bold also contains a half-VGA color display, one gigabyte of media memory, GPS, and even WiFi connectivity.

Several of this year's top phones are already sitting next to each other on Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) shelves, including Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) Instinct and the iPhone. But having a service provider offer a full range of these alongside other Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Motorola (NYSE:MOT) smartphones in company stores will touch even more consumers.

And RIM wasn’t satisfied with just solving the speed issue, either. In an attempt to flank the iPhone, RIM gave Verizon exclusive U.S. rights to the BlackBerry Storm, a touchscreen device that includes tactile feedback for easier typing. By overcoming one of the noted drawbacks of the iPhone, the Storm will help Verizon gain back some of the users lost to AT&T, and prevent more bleeding of its best and most lucrative customers.

In truth, there are many details that set the iPhone and the latest BlackBerries apart. But a large portion of the market for these devices will certainly be tempted by RIM's latest offerings. I doubt RIM will divorce many users from their iPhones, but it will likely divert the attention of many who have yet to join the Apple army.

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