RealTime IT News

Palm Gets Thumbs Up for RIM Keyboard

On the heels of a similar licensing agreement with Handspring earlier this week, Research in Motion Limited (RIM) entered the preliminary stage of a deal with Palm Solutions Group to license certain patents for its thumb-operated keyboard technology.

Today's announcement builds on RIM's solid positioning in the mobile communications space and is part of a strategy announced earlier this year to license its Blackberry technology to competing manufacturers and move into a larger market arena.

The RIM keyboard technology will be incorporated into Palm's Tungsten W wireless handheld offering, which is slated for commercial release in early 2003, according to Marlene Somsak, a spokesperson for Palm.

According to Somsak, there will be no co-branding with RIM on the Tungsten W.

Other terms of the royalty-bearing license agreement were not disclosed by either RIM or Palm.

The Tungsten W is the less expensive twin of the Tungsten T, which was released in October of this year as a high-powered personal digital assistant. The Tungsten T does not use a keyboard and instead uses an embedded Graffiti writing space.

The Tungsten W operates on Palm's OS 4.1.1 operating system and can accommodate POP or IMAP e-mail accounts, wireless short messaging (SMS), mobile phone use with an attachable hands-free headset, and comes with a thumb-operated keyboard for e-mail and messaging that is based on RIM's technology.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM was the first device manufacturer to develop the thumb-operated keyboard as a more efficient method for capturing user information at a time when other manufacturers were coming out with stylus-based keyboards.