RealTime IT News

RIM Says Hello to Nokia

On the heels of crucial patent deals with Palm Inc. and Handspring , Canada-based Research in Motion has now added mobile phone giant Nokia as a licensing partner.

RIM announced a deal with Nokia to license certain Blackberry software for use in Nokia products, most likely cell phones.

The non-exclusive deal, terms of which weren't disclosed, gives Nokia the right to use and distribute parts of the BlackBerry wireless enterprise platform that handles wireless data delivery.

The BlackBerry architecture supports back-end integration, end-to-end security and push-based wireless applications. BlackBerry is also a line of mobile e-mail devices that runs on narrowband PCS 800 MHz DataTAC networks or narrowband PCS 900 MHz Mobitex networks.

The two companies did not say which portions of the BlackBerry software were included in the deal and it is not yet clear what exactly Nokia plans to incorporate into its suite of mobile products.

Nokia, obviously, would be interested in sections of the software to put on its smartphones - cell phones that double as a PDA. And, if the deal with PDA-maker Palm is any indication, it most likely involves the use of the QWERTY keyboard that has made the BlackBerry device a hit with consumers.

Nokia is duking it out with Microsoft for control of the market for operating systems that run the smartphones and its no surprise the company has signed on to use some elements of the BlackBerry software.

Nokia officials raved about RIM's technology in its announcement Friday. "By signing this software licensing deal with RIM, we are able to provide another compelling option for mobile professionals to manage their email while on the move," said Erik Anderson, senior VP of Nokia Mobile Phones.

Just Thursday, RIM entered the preliminary stage of a deal with Palm Solutions Group to license certain patents for its thumb-operated keyboard technology. That deal is seen as part of a strategy by RIM 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. RIM, which has headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, 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.

Earlier this week, RIM also settled a lawsuit with Handspring and inked a licensing deal with the rival device maker to put the keyboard technology on its Treo Communicator PDAs.

Specific terms of the royalty-bearing license were not disclosed, but the Treo products use QWERTY keyboards to let users access phone, Internet, e-mail and SMS messaging functions.