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RIM Expands Enterprise Server

Research In Motion (RIM) said Tuesday that it is growing its Enterprise Server product to access many types of corporate data and not just e-mail.

The company said it has started beta testing a new version of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server that is aimed at giving both independent and in-house software developers the ability to access all manner of enterprise data. The current version of the product primarily supports e-mail.

The company said that it is adding what it calls Mobile Data Service to the server product. That service works both with the browser used in BlackBerry wireless devices and with the company's development environment for Java to deliver data over standard Internet protocols.

The move is another signal of RIM's change in direction in the face of increasing competition and a changing competitive wireless landscape. It had attracted a loyal following for its always-on BlackBerry e-mail devices, but next-generation wireless services will give most wireless devices that capability. Palm already has launched an always-on e-mail device, the Palm i705.

Besides adding access to corporate data to its e-mail product, RIM also recently committed to basing future devices on Java, which will broaden the number of applications that can run on the devices. It also said it would incorporate telephony capabilities in future devices.

"Our early decision to build an enterprise-class wireless e-mail solution paved the way for today's announcement," said Mike Lazaridis, RIM's president and Co-CEO. "We purposely built BlackBerry on an open, extensible platform that satisfies the rigorous demands of Fortune 1000 companies. As a result, we are well positioned to enable e-mail and corporate data access services through a single architecture."

The company said that the new Mobile Data service has native language support for XML, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and cHTML, which is used for i-mode.

David Haskin is managing editor of allNetDevices.com.