Research In Motion (RIM) today announced plans to expand its support for Windows Mobile-based devices with a new software application suite that will enable devices from third-party manufacturers to benefit from the popular BlackBerry software applications and services*. RIM plans to begin offering the new software application suite later this year for select devices based on Windows Mobile 6. Once installed, the software will provide users with a virtual BlackBerry application experience, including support for BlackBerry email, phone, calendar, address book, tasks, memos, browser, instant messaging and other applications developed for the BlackBerry platform. Devices running the BlackBerry application suite will be able to connect to BlackBerry services via BlackBerry Enterprise Server as well as BlackBerry Internet Service.
"Extending BlackBerry applications to a broader range of devices is an important element of RIM's strategy to provide an open platform that supports industry standards and addresses the various needs of our customers and partners," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. "This new software will provide a range of important benefits, including easier support of Windows Mobile-based devices within BlackBerry Enterprise Server environments, a consistent user interface for BlackBerry applications across various devices, and the ability to run third-party applications developed for the BlackBerry platform."
The new BlackBerry application suite will complement existing Windows Mobile 6 functionality and will appear as an icon on the screen in the same manner as other third-party applications. Upon clicking the BlackBerry icon, a suite of BlackBerry applications will load and will feature the familiar user interface of a BlackBerry smartphone. The device's existing Windows Mobile applications are preserved, allowing the user to easily and quickly switch between the Windows Mobile applications and the BlackBerry application suite.
"RIM's decision to expand its support for Windows Mobile will resonate well with customers, developers and carriers alike," said Carrie MacGillivray, Senior Analyst, Mobile Enterprise Network Services, IDC. "Security, manageability, usability, international coverage, network efficiency, mobile application support, back-end integration and device selection are all important considerations for a wireless platform and RIM continues to invest in the BlackBerry platform on all fronts."
"AT&T and RIM have enjoyed a long and successful history providing customers with innovative products and services. AT&T is a world leader in providing BlackBerry-based wireless solutions and we look forward to building on that momentum with RIM," said Michael Woodward, Executive Director, Mobile Professional Solutions, for AT&T. "The market for wireless email and other wireless applications is growing rapidly and we view RIM's broadening support for Windows Mobile, with new feature-rich and IT-friendly BlackBerry software, as another positive catalyst that will further expand the appeal of the BlackBerry platform with customers."
Key benefits of running the new BlackBerry application suite on a Windows Mobile-based device will include:
* The added benefit of BlackBerry applications, such as email, phone, text messaging, browser, instant messaging and organizer with a consistent user interface and messaging experience.
* BlackBerry "push" technology -- messages and information updates can be delivered automatically to the Windows Mobile-based device, enabling users to be more responsive to colleagues, clients, friends and family.
* Support for BlackBerry: Mobile Data System (BlackBerry MDS) allowing organizations to develop their own BlackBerry applications or deploy third-party BlackBerry applications that can run on Windows Mobile-based devices as well as BlackBerry smartphones.
* Support for various input methods, including QWERTY keyboards, 5-way navigation, touch screen and stylus operation so users can continue to use the unique hardware features of their Windows Mobile-based device.
* Support on BlackBerry: Internet Service, which provides push-based email from up to 10 supported email accounts (including most popular ISP accounts), attachment viewing and web browsing with optimized wireless efficiency.
* Support on BlackBerry: Enterprise Server, which tightly integrates with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino or Novell GroupWise to provide synchronized, push-based wireless access to email and other corporate data with the industry's most advanced security features, over-the-air IT policy enforcement capabilities and optimized wireless efficiency.