BlackBerry Maker to Launch PDA Device Tuesday

LOS ANGELES (04/06/2000) - Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), the company that makes the popular BlackBerry wireless e-mail device, will take aim at the PDA (personal digital assistant) market Tuesday with the release of a new product that resembles a Palm computer and comes equipped with a wireless Web browser.

Called the BlackBerry 957, the device features a larger screen, a more powerful antenna and more memory than the existing BlackBerry. It also adds support for Lotus Notes, allowing users to sync data in the device with Notes data on their PC, Jim Balsillie, RIM's chairman and chief executive officer, said in an interview here today.

The device bears a strong resemblance to Palm Inc.'s Palm computer and is likely to put RIM in direct competition with Palm and other PDA makers. The 957 is slightly smaller than the Palm and includes a miniature keyboard characteristic of the existing BlackBerry. Like a pager, the BlackBerry 957 is also "always on" and ready to receive messages, Balsillie noted. He gave the device its first public airing during a keynote speech at Internet World here by an Intel Corp. executive.

The BlackBerry 957 will be announced Tuesday and will ship nationwide in the U.S. May 1, with a recommended retail price of $499, Balsillie said. The wireless service will be priced at $39.99 per month for unlimited use with no roaming or long distance charges, the RIM chief said.

RIM is in talks with European network providers and expects to start rolling the new device out there in limited areas within nine months, with good coverage to follow in a year, Balsillie said.

RIM will also announce next week an upgrade to its existing BlackBerry that will feature, among other things, more memory and a better-quality display, according to Balsillie.

Based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM can be contacted at +1-519-888-7465, and on the Web at

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