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Shocker! New RIM CEO targets existing BlackBerry users for upgrades

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All of new RIM CEO Thorsten Heins' fresh ideas will apparently still be revealed to the company's board in a couple of weeks, but he's already dropped some gems in interviews with the Wall Street Journal and Reuters (update: and Bloomberg). First item on the agenda? Getting current users upgraded to the latest and greatest BlackBerry hardware. Citing internal statistics that indicate 80- to 90- percent of the company's customer base aren't running BlackBerry 7 hardware yet, it will work closely with US carriers to promote upgrades until the new BB10 devices hit later this year. There's no word on what the carrier deals include, but he hinted at device or preloaded app bundles. He also promised an LTE version of the PlayBook would arrive this spring, with LTE connected handsets also planned for the BlackBerry 10 lineup. Is that enough to turn around RIM's fortunes in the US, where he acknowledged the company is "a turnaround candidate"? We'll find out, but as obvious as the need to placate the already BBM-addicted may be, execution of the plan is everything.

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