BlackBerry Adds 'Lifestyle' Apps From Microsoft, MySpace, TiVo - InformationWeek

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9/11/2008
05:15 PM
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BlackBerry Adds 'Lifestyle' Apps From Microsoft, MySpace, TiVo

The partnerships coordinate with the release of the BlackBerry Pearl Flip and the increased demand for consumer applications for the smartphone.


BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220

BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220
(click for larger image)

Your BlackBerry device just got a little more "business casual" with the addition of several consumer-oriented applications announced Thursday.

Research In Motion revealed the availability of new applications for BlackBerry smartphones from Microsoft's Windows Live Search, Google, Ticketmaster, MySpace, Slacker, and TiVo. The software is expected to provide tighter search integration, synchronization with social networking apps, and more entertainment options.

With the casual market in mind, the application announcement corresponds to the unveiling of the BlackBerry Pearl Flip, a handset capable of what co-CEO Jim Balsillie called "lifestyle" apps.

BlackBerry devices gained traction in the smartphone market by having the best e-mail for mobile professionals. But RIM is hoping this bevy of partnerships will increase its standing with the consumer market.

"As the BlackBerry platform continues to evolve and broaden its appeal to mobile users, RIM looks to answer our customers' needs with a broad range of high-value solutions optimized for use with BlackBerry smartphones," said Mark Guibert, RIM's VP of corporate marketing, in a statement.

RIM and Microsoft announced an agreement to integrate Live Search capabilities into the BlackBerry Browser and BlackBerry Maps. The goal is to get users relevant, location-based search results as easily as possible, the companies said. It's expected to be available later this year.

But if users don't want Microsoft's search, Google rolled out a free, downloadable app that brings its services to BlackBerry users. The Google Mobile App provides searching without having to wait for a browser to load, update alerts, and tight integration with Google Apps like Gmail and Google Calendar. It can be downloaded by going to m.google.com on a BlackBerry handset.

RIM said it has seen wide adoption of the Facebook application for BlackBerry, and it has partnered with MySpace to create a mobile app that will provide real-time status updates, photo integration, and more. The application is expected to launch globally in October.

As for entertainment, RIM announced Thursday it had struck a deal to bring customized TiVo services to its BlackBerry smartphones. The companies said by the end of the year BlackBerry users will be able to wirelessly control their TiVo DVRs from their handsets. Future collaborations will bring television content to the smartphone, the companies said.

For music lovers, RIM has partnered with Internet music site Slacker to enable BlackBerry users to stream music from more than 10,000 artists. Users will be able to create customized playlists, as well as download and store songs. The Slacker application is expected in October.

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