November 7, 2002 6:37 AM PST

Palm licenses RIM's keyboard design

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Palm has agreed to license keyboard technology from the maker of the popular BlackBerry wireless devices.

Palm said that it would incorporate Research In Motion's technology in its recently announced Tungsten line of handheld devices, aimed at the high end of the handheld market.

"The coupling of RIM's keyboard technology in our upcoming Tungsten W wireless handheld with the wealth of software applications available for Palm handhelds helps us deliver versatile and innovative wireless products to mobile professionals and enterprises," Todd Bradley, CEO of Palm's Solutions Group, said in a release.

The $549 Tungsten W is the first Palm model with a built-in keyboard. It uses the GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) network for always-on, high-speed data access and can make phone calls with a plug-in earpiece. Initial shipments were set to begin in Europe in October, and the device is scheduled to arrive in the United States in the first quarter of 2003.

Financial terms of the deal were not released.

RIM has been fiercely protective of its intellectual property, filing suits against several companies that it claims infringed on patents. Earlier this week, it announced a licensing deal with handheld maker Handspring and said that the move also signaled a likely end to litigation between those two companies.


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