Research In Motion CEO Mike Lazaridis live from D7

We're snug in our plush, comfortable seats at D7, waiting patiently for RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis to take the stage. Sit tight and the show should begin momentarily. No word on what's coming up, but you never know...

Thanks to our editor-at-large and gdgt co-founder Ryan Block for handling photo duties during the show!

3:08PM Well, we tried to ask Mike about the Storm 2 that we've seen, but has no click screen. And... Walt wouldn't go for it. Why Walt, why?

2:57PM And now... questions. Well that was a snoozefest.

2:57PM Walt and Mike, two guys who just can't seem to agree about anything. Still, as far as conversations go, this is one staying-the-course situation we could do without. Mike will not budge from his party line, and Walt won't stop needling him.

It would be entertaining if it wasn't so sleepy.

2:55PM Walt: Does Microsoft understand this situation?

Mike: I don't think anyone understands it as well as we do.

2:55PM Walt: How are you going to stop your customers to believe that the networks can't handle it when your ads say otherwise. That has nothing to do with compressing text email. That's not what your ads show. Certainly not what Apple's ads show. They're using this like their laptops.

Mike: Every one of those applications needs to be optimized.

Wow, he really, really wants you to compromise here folks. And now... back to how totally radical push technology is, particularly when it comes from RIM.

2:52PM Walt: AT&T says they're doubling the speed. I'm not trying to cause a fight between you and AT&T. Does that mean I'll be able to use it like a laptop?

2:52PM Mike is using streaming a baseball game as an example of how your selfish network use is destroying the world. I hope you're happy, gadget lovers.

2:51PM Walt: So we now have millions of users with full res video, cloud based stuff, streaming... talk to me about the networks. These are all on cellphone networks.

Mike: This is the elephant in the room. We've been talking about this over a decade. We made BlackBerrys work on very low level networks, we compress the data in innovative ways... The fact is, that if we don't get ahead of this problem, that we're designing applications to be scalable... what's necessary is for the industry to get together, and build towards a vision that's realize-able (?).

That's not a word.

2:47PM Walt: Do you think the Kindle is a successful idea?

Mike: I think ebooks are inevitable. If you asked me years ago if I'd have a VGA screen in these devices... and that's happened in the last few years. That's the progress of technology.

Man, they're all over the place.

2:46PM Walt asked about tablets. Mike wants to know what the benefit would be over a laptop. Walt's running down the possibilities. This is kind of weird -- who wants a BlackBerry tablet?

Mike: We went through this in the industry, tech has evolved and perfected. We have offshoots of technology trying to fill in perceived gaps. A lot of times that ends up being in the middle. Keyboards are smaller, but too small to type on. There's always a market, but is it the mainstream?

2:44PM Mike: This was an innovative step for us. We put out an innovative screen. It's been the missing link in touchscreen technology. We wanted to get to place where you didn't have to think about it.

Walt: There are rumors all over the web that your next device will not have a SurePress screen that moves. Are those rumors correct?

Oh hey -- I wonder what they mean.

Mike: We don't comment on rumors. But SurePress is here to stay.

Well things are heating up now folks.

2:43PM Bam!

Walt: What happened with the Storm?

Mike: It's the number 3 best selling smartphone in America.

Walt: I didn't ask you about sales. I asked what happened.

Mike just tried to turn it towards Curve sales. Yow, this is a bit hot. Walt cut him off again: "I didn't ask about Curve sales."

2:41PM As you can tell, this is not thrilling stuff. Ryan just looked around and says there are quite a few people actually asleep here. No joke. Though to be fair, it is right after lunch...

2:40PM Walt: But isn't there a possibility of conflict between that, and the kind of open API thing that Apple, Google, Palm is pushing?

Mike: The people we're working with are far more sensitive (police, government, etc.)...

Walt just cut him off. "But my question was something different. You have built this fortress platform. Does that constrain your developers on building consumer level apps?"

2:37PM Walt: So the competition. Windows Mobile, Apple, this Palm thing. How do you look at those guys?

Mike: For the longest time we've been working at perfecting this thing called push email.

Walt: Other people can do it too...

Mike: Not as well as we can...

Walt: Well, maybe.

Mike: If you go back to the birth of BlackBerry, I talked to CIOs about the concept of push email, and they didn't understand the value of it. Every single one of them told me it better be secure, scalable, and manageable.

2:36PM Mike: We got it right. (on smartphones)

Walt: Yeah, but it's not like you're alone. Talk about the iPhone as a competitor? How do you read this explosion of apps -- what does that mean?

Mike: Well what's interesting for me is that all this buzz is increasing the consumer's appetite for these services. There's clearly a transition to smartphones, and now it's kicked in faster. When we launched App World, developers and partners have been calling us about the success they've already had in a short period of time.

Hmm... he kind of dodged the question there and brought it back to their products. Well done, Mike.

Mike: My Dad was sitting at the dinner table downloading a golf game. That's amazing.

2:33PM So far this is pretty dry stuff -- if you're looking for any exciting product news, there's a good chance we won't see it here. Still, somewhat interesting to hear Lazaridis' attitudes on this stuff. Though we'd like to see him whip out a Magnum. The phone, that is.

2:32PM Walt: But what are you cutting back on?

Mike: Well we're not cutting back on R&D. We knew this was coming.

2:31PM Walt: I want to talk to you about networks. The lifelines that tie this together, but first I want to talk about the economy. I feel like there's an optimistic vibe in the crowd, thinking past the recession. How is this effecting you?

Mike: Well RIM's been around for 25 years. We started in a recession. It's one of the reason I started RIM in the first place... I couldn't get a job. No matter what the short term situation is, it always gets better. High tech keeps driving value, adoption, and change. I have faith in high technology to keep creating value.

2:30PM Mike: Everyone is talking about convergence, that's just a side effect. This is a new computing platform. It's one that we wear, it's a personal one. It has to represent our values and our style. Each of us is going to have a different set of needs -- so it's not going to be a one size fits all. The amount of choice has never been seen before.

2:28PM Mike: Today we've got over 50 percent markshare in North America. The opportunity for smartphones is incredible.

Walt: Do you think that a primary function of these devices is still making a call? Or are all these data things... how do you see the balance?

Mike: Well the important thing is, what do people want to do with these things? These devices are becoming something people are dependent on. Push email is vital, a voice call is important. You want to be able to do these basic things. You want to be able to organize your day, and you want to be able to communicate with people.

2:26PM Oh by the way, we're on west coast time, in case you were wondering.

2:26PM Mike and Wal Mossberg are out -- and Walt is pontificating on the angle of this D, "Web 3.0". Yow.

We're snug in our plush, comfortable seats at D7, waiting patiently for RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis to take the stage. Sit tight and the show should begin momentarily. No word on what's coming up, but you never know...

Thanks to our editor-at-large and gdgt co-founder Ryan Block for handling photo duties during the show!