BMW is obviously not concerned that BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) is embroiled in a lawsuit with patent squatter NTP that could potentially force the communications giant to pay a stiff royalty or push them out of the U.S. market, because the German brand has just announced it will be the first automaker to offer BlackBerry address book integration, in its cars.
Of course, for the time being BlackBerry integration will only be available in Canada, where the NTP lawsuit would have no jurisdiction. Other markets are expected to follow shortly.
The news will come as a positive to the thousands of Canadian business people who use the popular push-email device, and could even swing buyers over to BMW who might otherwise be considering a new Lexus, Infiniti, Audi or Mercedes-Benz. No doubt this is what BMW Canada, an especially successful division of the world’s most popular luxury nameplate, is hoping.
“As an industry leader in technological innovations that not only enhance the driving experience, but also provide premium levels of safety, comfort and convenience, BMW is once again breaking new ground,” stated Lindsay Duffield, President and CEO, BMW Group Canada. “We are thrilled that our development of this integration in conjunction with RIM, a Canadian business success story, will provide Canadian BMW and BlackBerry owners with a world first.”
The announcement will affect all 2006 BMW models equipped with BMW Assist (Bluetooth technology) from September 2005 production. Such cars will be available with full address book integration from RIM’s BlackBerry 8700 series devices, allowing the convenience of making cellphone calls via on-board controls or totally hands-free voice-activation.