RIM Inks Licensing Deals With Symbian, Microsoft

RIM on Monday announced several licensing agreements with companies that have traditionally been competitors of the corporate wireless data technology company.

NEW ORLEANS—Research In Motion Ltd. on Monday announced several licensing agreements with companies that have traditionally been competitors of the corporate wireless data technology company.

At the CTIA Wireless 2003 show here, RIM revealed plans to cooperate with operating systems from Symbian Ltd. and Microsoft Corp.

RIM and Symbian announced plans to bring push-based corporate data and e-mail services to Symbian OS phones using technology currently used in RIMs Blackberry devices.

"Mobile device manufacturers, carriers, end users and IT departments are recognizing the productivity benefits that can be gained from wireless access to corporate data and email," said David Levin, CEO of Symbian Ltd. in London, in a statement. "Our agreement with RIM will enable Symbian OS licensees to exploit the rich functionality of Symbian OS and to add integrated, push-based access to email and enterprise information enabled by the BlackBerry solution."

Symbian, a cell phone operating system consortium established as a private independent company in June 1998, is owned by Ericsson AB, Nokia Corp., Matsushita Co.(Panasonic), Motorola Inc., Psion plc., Siemens Enterprise Networks LLC, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications Inc. and now Samsung.

RIM and Symbian did not give details about their licensing agreement, which follows a software licensing agreement RIM and Nokia announced last November.

At the same time, RIM announced plans to bring BlackBerry connectivity to Microsofts Pocket PC and Smartphone platform, through a software package that will let device manufacturers and carriers integrate BlackBerry push e-mail services onto Microsoft-based handheld devices. High Tech Computer Corp., a Taiwanese original design manufacturer that makes Compaq Computer Corp.s iPaq devices, plans to offer BlackBerry connectivity on future Pocket PC and Smartphone devices. HTC is expected to deliver such a device by the end of the year, according to Mark Guibert, vice president of brand management at RIM in Waterloo, Canada.

Sources close to RIM said the company has similar plans to bring BlackBerry connectivity to devices that run the Palm OS.

On the self-branded device side, RIM on Monday announced the BlackBerry 6210, a Java-based e-mail pager that includes voice capability and runs on GSM/GPRS (global system for mobility/general packet radio service) networks. AT&T Wireless Services Inc. will sell the device within the next month, for about $349, Guibert said. At the same time, RIM will begin offering new capabilities for its back-end BlackBerry Server, which let users view attachments on their devices and synch their devices wirelessly.

Verizon Wireless on Tuesday is expected to announce plans to launch a CDMA (code division multiple access) BlackBerry device, also within the next month.

RIM also has tentative plans for a color screen device that will include enhanced media features. Guibert said the company has no set release date for this yet, but it wont be available before the second half of the year.

"Were pretty close to working out the battery life issues," he said.

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