I was just thinking about what RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said about the BlackBerry soon becoming the MP3 player of choice for consumers and even though I think that this is a bit unrealistic, Research in Motion could make some legitimate noise if they are smart about things.

We all know that Apple and Cingular will release the first version of the iPhone sometime around the June time frame. Even with the extravagantly high price tag the iPhone will be a big hit for Cingular and Apple. It will probably crush whatever estimates Apple is putting out there for sales and will undoubtedly be one of if not the big story this year in the mobile phone industry, at least in the United States. Research in Motion, however, if they are smart about things, can capitalize on all of the hoopla that has and will continue to surround the iPhone.

Jim Balsillie was exactly right when he said that “Apple has done us an enormous favour by saying you should expect music on your cellphone.” With the announcement of the iPhone, Apple changed the perception of a built-in MP3 player being a “cool to have” to a built-in MP3 player being something mobile phones just “should have”.

If RIM is smart about things and does something like come out with a new BlackBerry that plays MP3s and takes pictures right before the Apple iPhone is released, they could capture the attention of consumers that may have been looking at the iPhone. If Balsillie was serious about the BlackBerry becoming the MP3 player of choice for consumers they need to start now before Apple gets a stranglehold on the market. They need to start letting people know that a new picture taking MP3 playing BlackBerry is getting ready to come out. They need to get these devices into the hands of celebrities who love getting their picuture take while holding their BlackBerry. They need to start marketing BlackBerrys to consumers that read magazines like People and not only to ones who read Forbes… They basically need to do a lot of the things that Apple is doing with the iPhone.

That is if RIM is smart about things…