January 29, 2004 11:05 AM PST

RIM picks up Samsung phone support

Research In Motion and Samsung Electronics are working together to bring always-on wireless e-mail features to cell phones as the companies attempt to increase interest from wireless carriers and build momentum for their respective products.

Waterloo, Ontario-based Research In Motion announced Thursday plans to make its BlackBerry wireless service available on Samsung cell phones. Initial efforts will target large businesses using RIM's server software to wirelessly access corporate networks and data, including e-mail, on Samsung phones. Later the company plans to provide individuals and small businesses with such features as Web-based e-mail on Samsung phones.

"BlackBerry connectivity support on Samsung handhelds will provide carriers and customers with a wider choice of devices to satisfy different needs and preferences," RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in a statement.

By making its service available on phones from Samsung--one of the top three cell phone makers in the world--RIM increases the pool of devices that could potentially use its BlackBerry service. It's not clear how many Samsung handhelds will offer the service.

The companies also hope to catch the attention of wireless carriers, which have been looking for features--such as e-mail and remote access to wireless networks--to differentiate their services and drive use of their next-generation wireless data networks.

As part of Thursday's agreement, Samsung has signed up for RIM's BlackBerry Connect licensing program, which is part of RIM's ongoing effort to increase the number of devices that run its software and messaging service

Further details of the relationship were not disclosed.

Symbian, Microsoft and PalmSource are also working with RIM to make BlackBerry service available on devices using their operating systems.

In related news, Good Technology, a RIM rival, is set to make announcements about its business next week in an event to be attended by representatives from PalmOne, Microsoft, Dell, PalmSource, VeriSign, Starbucks and Electronics Arts.

 

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