Following on the debut of Apple’s iPhone, Research-In-Motion (RIM) on Tuesday introduced a new version of the popular BlackBerry wireless e-mail device that enables users to connect to Wi-Fi as well as to traditional cellular networks. The new BlackBerry 8820 is the first dual-mode smartphone produced by RIM, which recently reported a 73% increase in first-quarter earnings. This earnings increase has triggered a 39% surge in the company’s share price since June 28. According to RIM President Mike Lazaridis, the new 8820 device also features GPS navigation and the “latest media player enhancements” that will enable users to play music and videos. Although the BlackBerry enjoys a prolific market presence among lawyers, politicians and corporate professionals, RIM has yet to establish a major foothold in the retail sector. Experts say that, with its Wi-Fi and multimedia capabilities, the BlackBerry 8820 should enable RIM to compete effectively against the iPhone in the consumer market. RIM CEO Jim Balsillie stressed that he has no worries about the impact of the iPhone on BlackBerry sales. Lazaridis complemented Apple CEO Steve Jobs for “growing the whole industry” with the introduction of the iPhone and for accelerating “the public’s awareness and acceptance of a smartphone” such as the BlackBerry 8820. AT&T is slated to roll out the BlackBerry 8820 in the U.S. later this summer.