Symbian phones to get BlackBerry e-mail

Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) and Symbian Ltd. are working to bring RIM's BlackBerry wireless e-mail to Symbian-based cell phones, the companies said.

RIM has joined Symbian's partner program and the companies have started technical and business development work that will allow handset makers to offer RIM's e-mail service on phones that use Symbian's operating system, RIM and Symbian said in a statement released at the CTIA Wireless trade show in New Orleans on Monday.

RIM of Waterloo, Ontario, also introduced a licensing program called BlackBerry Connect for handset makers who want to use RIM's technology. Nokia Corp., the world's largest cell phone maker and a Symbian shareholder, has already licensed RIM's technology.

Symbian develops and licenses the Symbian operating system for smart phones, a fledgling part of the handheld market that has also attracted Microsoft Corp. and PalmSource Inc. as players. Symbian is owned by a consortium of companies, including handset makers Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Siemens AG, Motorola Inc., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB. and Nokia.

Linking up with Symbian is evidence that RIM is moving out of the hardware business and that its pager-styled device might not be right for the international market, Tim Mui, a senior analyst with IDC in London said.

"Going forward, RIM will be licensing the intellectual property for its messaging system," he said. "RIM realizes now that their devices aren’t that compelling, especially in Europe, coming from a mobile phone background as opposed to the U.S. that is coming from a pager background."

RIM's BlackBerry technology supports various enterprise requirements, such as back-end integration, end-to-end security and push-based wireless applications. BlackBerry-branded wireless devices are being sold around the world.

RIM and Symbian did not say when the first Symbian-based phones with BlackBerry support should be available. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

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