RIMs BlackBerry Gathers Allies, Rivals at CTIA

Research in Motion is adopting Intel's XScale architecture, while Microsoft and Nokia plan to offer a "simpler" solution than BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

SAN FRANCISCO—While Nokia and Microsoft intend to compete against BlackBerry maker Research in Motion head-on, Intel and RIM have a new partnership. These were among the main messages of the first-day keynotes at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment show here on Tuesday.

Suzan DelBene, Microsoft Corp.s vice president of marketing for mobile and embedded devices, said that Research in Motion Ltd.s popular BlackBerry Enterprise Server is too complicated.

In order for a BlackBerry device to gain access to corporate data behind the firewall, the data must go through a network operations center, as well as through additional middleware, before it reaches the e-mail server.

"What we think is a better solution than that is to make things simpler," DelBene said.

With the latest versions of Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Windows Mobile, customers who use both operating systems can get access to their e-mail without any additional software, she said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead details here about Sprints pocket PC phone that uses Windows Mobile 5.0.

DelBene showcased several new devices that run Windows Mobile 5.0, including Motorola Inc.s new i930, which is the companys first Windows Mobile device that supports push-to-talk walkie-talkie capabilities.

She also held up the widely publicized Palm Treo for Windows, which Palm Inc., Microsoft and Verizon Wireless launched at a separate event yesterday. She added that her particular Treo was disabled yesterday, and thats why it wasnt working on stage.

Microsoft was forced to disable the demo device because when company chairman Bill Gates held the device up to the crowd, the

Treos phone number was displayed on the giant screen behind him. Consequently, hundreds of "very strange" text messages were sent to the device, Del Bene said, and she was forced to turn it off. But she assured the crowd that it did work.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read about Nokias how e-mail platform challenges BlackBerry.

Nokia, meanwhile, is working to bridge the gap between land-line and cellular phones, said Mary McDowell, vice president and general manager of the cell phone giants Enterprise Solutions division.

Between 80 to 90 percent of people with corporate cell phones also use a corporate land line in their offices, according to McDowell, and Nokia is looking to lower that percentage by way of fixed-to-mobile convergence.

"As we bring out more converged and IP cellular devices, its going to become easier," she said.

She also plugged Nokias new Business Center, a behind-the-firewall software platform that lets customers read and delete corporate e-mail on their wireless devices.

The main difference between the Business Center and RIMs platform is that Nokia is not charging a client license for basic e-mail access, although it does charge for access to other corporate applications.

"Its about bringing down barriers and truly bringing mobile e-mail solutions to the corporate masses," McDowell said. Thirteen devices will be qualified to run on the Business Center by the beginning of next year, she said.

Meanwhile, Intel Corp. and RIM announced that RIM is adopting Intels XScale architecture. RIM will use Intels PXA9xx cellular processor, code-named Hermon, in upcoming BlackBerry devices. These models, due by the end of the year, will run on high-speed EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution) networks, officials said.

And Intel is still bullish on wireless LAN technology. The company plans to support MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) smart antenna technology in future chip sets, said Sean Maloney, executive vice president and general manager of the mobility group at Intel. MIMO increases both the distance and throughput rates of data that runs over WLAN.

"Were probably a year to 18 months away from the first Intel MIMO application on 802.11n," he said, referring to the IEEE standard for MIMO, which has yet to be ratified.

Intel also demonstrated prototype laptop computers running on its dual-core processor, which includes two CPUs in a single chip. Code-named Napa, the chip is due to hit the market in January.

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