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Blackberry changes colour and sprouts attachments

Visitors to last week's3GSM World Congress in Cannes were given a taste of the latest Blackberry devices from Research in Motion.

RIM showed the 6200 series of Blackberrys, which are smaller and have brightly coloured plastic cases. Spokeswoman Tilly Quanjer said the devices will go on sale in the first half of this year and target the consumer market.

A Web client, which is due out by the end of this year, will allowing Blackberry users to access web-based e-mail services such as Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail.

Also on display was a Blackberry terminal showing video clips on a colour TFT screen. Existing models have monochrome LCD screens. Quanjer said the colour display was a concept device intended to gauge customer reaction, and the company has no plans to bring it to market.

Meanwhile, Onset Technology introduced some additions to its Metamessage for Wireless software suite in Europe, allowing Blackberry users to retrieve data from corporate databases remotely, and to view attachments in Blackberry mail.

GetData allows mobile users to query document management systems, SQL databases, Web services and proprietary applications from a handheld device. For each data source, a custom form must be created by application development staff using XML (Extensible Markup Language) tools. Access to information can be restricted to particular users or classes of users by designing different forms reflecting security policies, according to Addi Regev, project manager at Onset.

Pricing for the server component of GetData depended on the applications integrated and the number of users. The client is bundled with Onset's remote printing, file access and attachment viewer tools and could cost around £126 per seat, although that will vary from country to country.

Onset also introduced its e-mail attachment viewer, AttachmentsPlus, to European customers. The software was launched in the US last year, and fills a gap in the basic software provided by RIM, whereby remote users are notified of the existence of an attachment in an e-mail, but are unable to see it.

"Blackberry mail is really good, but once you start using it, you want access to your attachments," Regev said.

A forthcoming update of RIM's Enterprise Server software, Version 3.6, will add the ability to view attachments on the pocket terminals, plus the ability to update the server over the air to reflect messages filed, deleted or read on the mobile terminal. At present, that operation requires that the Blackberry be placed in its desktop cradle.

RIM does not yet have a release date for Version 3.6. 


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