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RIM, Nextel, Motorola enter PDA initiative

RIM, Nextel, Motorola enter PDA initiative

RESTON, Va.—In a move to combine almost all of their popular business services and applications into one offering, Research In Motion Ltd., Nextel Communications and Motorola Inc. announced they will team to create a new Personal Data Assistant, one that the companies hope will become the new standard for enterprise-focused devices.

Under the new teaming, RIM will develop a BlackBerry-type device working over Nextel’s iDEN network that can support voice calls, as well as Nextel’s popular Direct Connect push-to-talk radio service, text and numeric paging, and the carrier’s packet-based wireless Web service. The device, which will be released by the fourth quarter of this year and will feature a new design, will also support Java technology—which has received broad support from both RIM and Nextel.

“RIM and Nextel have both developed unique wireless solutions for corporate customers,” said Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s president and co-chief executive officer. “This new integrated offering, together with our mutual commitment to Java-based wireless applications, will provide an innovative and attractive proposition for our business customers and development community.”

Not to be left out, Motorola also scored a license to allow “specific iDEN and RIM technologies to be incorporated into certain devices from each company.”

The deal is an extension of a December agreement between RIM and Nextel, which involved RIM introducing wireless e-mail devices working over Nextel’s network. The teaming seems a good fit as both companies have successfully sold wireless products and services almost exclusively to the business market—and most analysts agree the market has explosive potential.

Further, RIM already has some experience in integrating voice support into its e-mail devices. The company’s GPRS BlackBerrys, which are now selling in Europe through British carrier MmO2, allow users to make voice calls.

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