February 16, 2009
RIM, the maker of the Blackberry device, has announced a partnership deal with PC manufacturer Lenovo at the MWC event in Barcelona. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will work together so that Blackberry smartphones will be able to synchronise, via a Bluetooth connection, with Lenovo ThinkPad laptop computers.
“R&D is coming from both sides on this, but we haven’t set a fixed timetable for when products will be available,” says Rory O’Neill, RIM’s director for solutions and alliances marketing in the EMEA region. “The collaboration with Lenovo is part of our broader strategy for Blackberry to be a platform for the enterprise: smartphones on the go and laptops [for desktop working].”
According to the two companies, the level of integration between the Blackberry and the PC ‘dramatically improves’ access to email on the Lenovo ThinkPad as it can use the RIM device to access a connection. And in addition to greater flexibility and convenience, it can also reduce the need to use the laptop with fee-based wifi networks.
The Lenovo deal is the first partnership that RIM has entered into with a hardware manufacturer. As part of its bid to become more attractive to both enterprises and consumers, RIM is planning to launch the BlackBerry applications storefront next month, which will enable Blackberry users to browse and download applications online. O’Neill wouldn’t be drawn on how many application developers RIM has so far lined up for the storefront but is hoping that its revenue-share model of 80-20 in favour of the application developer will have strong pulling power.
The published revenue-share model for Apple, the pioneer of the app store, is 70-30 in favour of the application developer.
RIM’s applications storefront is an extension to its carrier-centric ‘app centre’ where operators can pick and choose the applications they foreground and package to Blackberry users. Launched in November 2008, RIM numbers Vodafone UK among its app centre users.
RIM reports that it shipped its 50 millionth fruit flavoured handset duringJanuary2009. During the fourth quarter of 2008, the BlackBerry vendor notched up 2.6 million net new subscriber accounts and shipped approximately 6.7 million devices. As of the end of 2008, there were approximately 21 million active BlackBerry subscribers worldwide, with RIM’s own BlackBerry infrastructure handling 3 petabytes of traffic per month, and it’s not all email. Over seven million people have downloaded the Facebook for BlackBerry application, the vendor claims.
RIM launched its first BlackBerry ten years ago.
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