RIM promises voice-enabled PDA

Research in Motion (RIM) is planning to deliver a handheld device offering both voice and data support following a tie-up between...

Research in Motion (RIM) is planning to deliver a handheld device offering both voice and data support following a tie-up between Nextel and Motorola.

The PDA will use RIM's wireless e-mail technology and Motorola's integrated digital enhanced network (iDEN) technology on Nextel's nationwide network in the US, offering voice and two-way radio service, text and numeric paging and Nextel Wireless Web online services.

As part of the agreement, Motorola and RIM have signed a cross-licensing agreement under which RIM will use Motorola technology in the device. The handhelds will support Java 2 Micro Edition applications, as well as messaging and application management services.

RIM has signed a multiyear agreement with Nextel to supply the BlackBerry Wireless Handhelds with associated software and services, the companies said. Pricing information was not available for the devices which are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2002.

Earlier this month, RIM announced an agreement with VoiceStream Wireless that would bring new devices to market with high-speed voice and data capabilities. The deal will bring the devices, which look similar to existing units, to market by the end of the first quarter on VoiceStream's GPRS service, the companies said.

The new model will feature a headphone jack for voice calls and users will also be able to connect it to a notebook and use it as a wireless modem, VoiceStream said at the time. Pricing on the device has not been announced yet.

Handheld vendor Handspring has just started to deliver its own combination PDA and mobile phone, called the Treo. During the company's earnings call earlier this month Handspring said it expected to announce new carrier and distribution partners for the Treo this quarter.

RIM's BlackBerry wireless "always-on" e-mail devices were used by about 289,000 subscribers at the beginning of December 2001, according to RIM. They are used in more than 13,000 organisations in North America, the company said.

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