RIM grows BlackBerrys for 3G networks

NEW YORK CITY — Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) has unveiled a host of BlackBerry products at PC Expo/TechXNY that pump up activity in the wireless enterprise sector and offer converged voice and data services on a 2.5G network.


it the most significant launch since 1999 BlackBerry ISP Edition, RIM chairman and co-CEO Jim Balsillie said the pagers will be aimed at the corporate market and use the 2.5G network technology, which analysts consider a stepping stone to 3G networks.

In a one-on-one interview with Computing Canada, Balsillie said the launch is significant because the device supports multiple network standards, and offers enhanced mobile-data services and Web-based applications. “We’ve been working on all of these things for some time,” he said. “2.5G is a revolution, while 3G is an evolution.”

As part of the launch, the Waterloo, Ont.-based company plans to roll out a BlackBerry device that supports the GSM/GPRS network. The world band version will support wireless data and voice services operating on GSM/GPRS networks in both North America (1900 MHz frequency) and Europe/Asia Pacific (900 MHz frequency).

A BlackBerry wireless handheld will also support the iDEN network in the U.S., while another model will support CDMA/1xRTT networks like those launched by Bell, Telus and Rogers AT&T Wireless. “It’s significant because we can have global solutions — all with powerful open industry standards,” said Balsillie.

Balsillie said the BlackBerry Enterprise Server would include a feature that lets corporations deploy additional wireless applications beyond e-mail. Corporate application developers and ISVs will be able to deploy wireless applications without learning new middleware or operating systems, thanks to the multiple network backbone, which uses standard protocols and languages including XML, HTTP and Java.

“It’s all about enhancing the BlackBerry server so users can have access to other corporate data like CRM and ERP,” said company representative Scott Pollard.

Security components will let IT departments wirelessly disable and erase all data on a BlackBerry handheld and remotely set or change the handheld’s password, he added.

Balsillie said the added functionality offers enhanced network management, which for many is the No. 1 request and concern among handheld users and IT departments.

RIM is only one example of the companies demonstrating mobile solutions at this year’s TechXNY. Sony, for example, has added to its line of Clie handhelds. The PEG-T665C offers enhanced multimedia features including an integrated audio player, which lets users access digital audio files stored on an optional memory stick media card.

PalmSource Inc., a subsidiary of Palm Inc., announced Java support, a new Web browser and VPN client for Palm OS. The company has forged a relationship with Insignia Solutions in a bid to create a standard Java interface to run on the Palm OS platform, and has also struck an agreement with Access Systems America in an effort to bring a new, secure proxyless browser to Palm OS 5.

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