RIM Mum on Report of Intel Chip Contract Talks


Research In Motion Ltd. declined to comment on a newspaper report on Wednesday that it is considering putting Intel Corp. chips in new versions of its flagship BlackBerry wireless e-mail device. A report in Canada’s National Post newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said RIM is in talks with the world’s largest computer chip maker about including its Centrino chip, used mainly in notebook computers.

RIM likes Intel’s Centrino chip because it uses relatively little power, the report said. Efficient power use and a long battery life were among RIM’s top priorities in designing the thumb-operated BlackBerry, which helped popularize wireless e-mailing. A RIM spokeswoman said in an e-mail the company had no comment on the report.

“RIM typically does not comment either way on rumors or speculation about future product plans for RIM or RIM’s partners/vendors,” the e-mail said.

One Toronto-based technology analyst said he would not be surprised by a deal, but questioned its significance.

“I’m sure they’re always looking at different suppliers. To be honest I don’t know how much of a difference it really makes. They might offer some technology that RIM is looking at, but there are a lot of people out there,” the analyst said.

The analyst noted Intel is looking to become a bigger player in the mobile handset sector, but said RIM is unlikely to offer a large enough market to interest Intel.

“RIM just doesn’t offer the volumes yet. Maybe strategically it would offer something,” he said.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM reported last month that it added 592,000 subscribers to its e-mail service in the first quarter to reach about 3.11 million, and forecast between 620,000 and 650,000 additions in the current quarter.

Almost all of its subscribers access the service through RIM’s own BlackBerry handset.