RealTime IT News

BlackBerry Sync Updates Shares Photos

BlackBerry owners can give thanks for a new app that will allow them to transfer photos between their computers and their mobile devices, with the release of BlackBerry Sync 3.0.

The new app from Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) allows users to transfer image files and folders between a PC and the BlackBerry, while optimizing and compressing photos for the device, creating more available room.

"The best part about this feature is that picture file sizes are compressed so that they can be viewed optimally on the BlackBerry smartphone," a RIM product manager wrote in a blog post. "Some pictures are reduced to about 2 percent of their original size."

As with previous versions, BlackBerry Sync 3.0 also works with iTunes and Windows Media Player, syncing up play lists. Though music syncing is available for both PCs and Macs, photo syncing is currently just available for the PC.

News of the updated app comes after RIM's update to version 5.0 of its operating system earlier this year, and on the heels of several new releases, including the BlackBerry Storm2, BlackBerry Bold 9700 and BlackBerry Tour.

Many of those moves have gotten the thumbs-up from industry-watchers.

"RIM fixed the myriad problems with the BlackBerry Storm with a software update and introduced a new version with cleaner styling and tighter push-screen technology," Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, wrote in a research note issued today. "RIM's BlackBerry Bold line was expanded with the 9700 at T-Mobile and AT&T the form factor has narrowed a bit and the result is the best BlackBerry RIM has ever made."

Still, as the smartphone landscape becomes more competitive with new Android-powered handsets and Palm's new webOS devices such as the Pre and Pixi entering the sector, Greengart warned that it's no time for RIM to become complacent.

"E-mail-centric consumers and those who prefer QWERTY keyboards have over two dozen BlackBerry models to choose from across all four national carriers," he wrote. "RIM will almost certainly face serious challenges this time next year if it does not radically overhaul its user interface and browser, but for now, the BlackBerry is still a strong seller."

Of course, RIM may have good reason for resting on its laurels a bit: While the iPhone continues to post record-breaking sales for both Apple and its exclusive carrier AT&T, RIM still sells more devices.

For the time being, at least, RIM doesn't show signs of slowing -- especially on the software front. In addition to the Sync update, the BlackBerry maker also recently rolled out upgrades to its platform aimed at luring developers.

It also has at least one more major software introduction up its sleeve: RIM recently acquired mobile browser company Torch Mobile and is expected to update its browser with Torch's technology by early next year.