For BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion, 2011 will be the year to battle the fun phones or settle in as the corporate and entry-level device, according to market-watchers interviewed by the The Canadian Press.

The Toronto Star on Monday published the article that looked at Canada-based RIM’s challenges and prospects. RIM is establishing a research and development center in the Research Triangle Park. area.

“Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) will spend next year reinventing itself in a fashion, with its new PlayBook computer tablet and a new generation of smart phones intended to lure consumers away from Apple and Android products,” the report stated.

“So, 2011 is the year where they either sink into being an entry-level device provider or they turn it around,” the paper quoted PC Magazine analyst Sascha Segan as saying.

Segan said the BlackBerry maker has been able to mask its lack of competitiveness with iPhone and Google-powered Android devices by tapping into the “huge well” of demand for its phones in emerging markets.

“But that’s probably not going to go at the same speed in 2011 and they need to get back to core markets like North America, where consumers are more demanding,” Segan, lead analyst for PCMag Mobile, told the CP.

William Blair & Company analyst Anil Doradla said “apps” are going to be key for RIM, which opened BlackBerry App World almost a year after Apple’s App Store.

“What will hold onto consumers is their application store front and that’s what they will have to work hard on,” Doradla, who’s based in Chicago, told the wire service.

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