Research In Motion (NYSE: RIMM) must be desperate to reverse the trend of losing smartphone market share to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and to Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android alliance. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Canadian BlackBerry wrangler has a new touchscreen phone in the works, with a tablet computer to match.

And if the Journal's anonymous sources are telling the whole truth about the upcoming features, these products will have the impact of a nuclear warhead crashing into the sun: barely measurable.

The BlackBerry product line started life as a glorified two-way pager with some slick email-management powers. It has morphed into a line of full-featured smartphones with a Web browser and a handful of installable applications, much like how Palm (Nasdaq: PALM) redesigned its good old PDA gadgets into highly connected phones. But Apple's iPhone always had the slicker user interface and more third-party applications, and the Android gang is coming on strong in both of those categories. Simply put, the BlackBerry needs a serious kick in the pants to maintain its uniqueness, or else RIM will drown in a tsunami of more powerful smartphones.

So what is RIM doing about it? Not much, apparently. The new BlackBerry user interface sounds very familiar to anyone who ever used an Android, iPhone, or Palm Pre handset. Is achieving parity the same as innovation? I don't think so. Apple invented features like "letting users swipe through screens and expand images with their fingers." Android brought serious improvements on an accelerated schedule. Palm presented a nice device, but failed to take it any further. RIM seems destined to join Palm in the Hall of Infamy for failed smartphone strategies.

Oh, but what about the BlackBerry-like tablet device? Tablets are the new hotness, right? Well, you'll reportedly need to connect this one to an actual BlackBerry if you want a wireless data connection. That's a terrible start. I understand that RIM wants to juice its sales and encourage brand loyalty here, but that tactic is more likely to just constrict the tablet-buying demographic to existing BlackBerry owners only.


Source: The Nielsen Company

As the chart above shows, existing Blackberry ownership is a shrinking market, as BlackBerry users are much more likely to switch brands for their next phone than iPhone and Android addicts. Less than half of current Blackberry owners prefer to switch to another Blackberry device, which is a terrible omen for future growth.

Or more simply put, the CrackBerry has finally met its Methadone.

Two wrongs rarely make a right, and this is no exception. RIM is doing its best to fail on an epic scale, if you ask me. Do you agree? Disagree? Get the argument going in the comments below.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.