Research In Motion, maker of the venerable Blackberry may introduce a touch-screen version of its popular handheld in an effort to battle the iPhone from Apple, which is encroaching into the smart phone market at a rapid pace.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona RIM's co-CEO Jim Balsillie said the company will introduce a touch-screen BlackBerry if customers want it, and it may hit the market soon.

For sure we're looking at all kinds of different device packaging and presentation, Balsillie at the Mobile World Congress, according to Reuters. I think getting religious on packaging is not the way to go, he said. It's really user preference-oriented.

The Waterloo, CA-based company has been facing increasing pressure from traditional rivals, such as market-leader Nokia, and U.S-based Motorola, however newcomer Apple is quickly taking market market share.

After being on the market for slightly over 200 days, the iPhone managed to take second place in the U.S smart phone market for the fourth quarter, behind the Blackberry, and ahead of Motorola offerings, according to Canalys research.

The iPhone's innovative touch-sensitive interface, lauded by many consumers and reviewers , has contributed partly to the success.

When you consider that it launched part way through the year, with limited operator and country coverage, and essentially just one product, Apple has shown very clearly that it can make a difference and has sent a wakeup call to the market leaders, said Pete Cunningham, a senior analyst with Canalys.

Cupertino, Calif.'s Apple is expected to release a 3G version of the iPhone in the first or second quarter of this year, according to analyst Richard Gardner of Citigroup, which will take advantage of high-speed data networks available in Europe, and from select providers in the US.

Not to be outdone, Balsillie said RIM would also introduce devices based on the 3G standard.

Certainly going to HSDPA is something that's very important to us in the near term, Balsillie said.

He said that while other handset makers were focusing on expanding their relationships with consumers, RIM was happy with its strategy of selling through carriers.