Monthly Archive for January, 2006Page 4 of 16

A Look At Blackberry Alternatives

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With all the talk about a Blackberry shutdown in the US, we wanted to look at the possible alternatives that a company can pursue. Although we really think that the shutdown is highly unlikely, it will be a good exercise to see RIM’s competition and which one poses the biggest threats now and for the future.

Palm

The jury may still be out on the new Treo 700w running Windows Mobile, but no one can deny that the Palm 650 is a great device. The advantage of running Palm OS is that it is a mature OS with thousands of 3rd party software available with multimedia and memory expansion capabilities. The device is also very powerful, running the same Intel chip as in the Blackberry 8700 and actually having programs that take advantage of the extra power. The problem with the Treo 650 is that it’s not an Enterprise device, which may be the reason why they are now adopting the Windows Mobile OS. Also out of the box, email is not pushed to the device unless you were to subscribe to a 3rd party service which drives the cost of ownership.

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Microsoft takes aim as RIM battles in court

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With RIM’s BlackBerry handhelds in danger of a shutdown for patent violations, Microsoft is ready to exploit the opportunity with its own push email offering. The timing of the court struggle could help Microsoft, which has been manoeuvring its own Direct Push technology for email for the Pocket PC and smartphone market. Microsoft says the technology should be available by the middle of the year, making a head-first slide into a heated market.

IT managers using BlackBerry software are caught in limbo, worried they might suddenly not have a wireless email service, said Gartner analyst Monica Basso. Many enterprises plan to deploy more BlackBerry handhelds, and the litigation has thrown in doubt whether they should proceed or look at other options, she said.

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What’s Next For RIM?

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RIM seems like it has exhausted all avenues to get its case tossed. In 2004, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected RIM’s argument that it was not infringing on NTP’s patents because a critical piece of the BlackBerry service was located in Canada and not in the United States. They then appealed to the Supreme Court to hear its case but that request was denied. So down it goes, back to the district court level where in 2003 U.S. District Judge James Spencer has already granted an injunction to halt Blackberry sales in the US. He has ordered both sides to file response briefs by Feb. 1, and a hearing is expected within the next few weeks to determine the scope of a possible injunction.

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T-Mobile and RIM Launch the New BlackBerry 8700g in the UK

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T-Mobile UK and Research In Motion today announced an expansion of T-Mobile’s portfolio of BlackBerry devices with the introduction of the new BlackBerry 8700g. The device is expected to be available from T-Mobile throughout the UK from early February.

The BlackBerry 8700g, developed and manufactured by RIM, has a full QWERTY keyboard in a new, sleek, lightweight design. In addition to standard BlackBerry functionality including support for ‘push’ email, phone, text messaging, browser, organizer and corporate data applications, the BlackBerry 8700g was completely re-engineered to boost performance and features an Intel processor as well as 64 MB flash memory and 16 MB SRAM. The BlackBerry 8700g delivers faster Web browsing, attachment viewing and application performance. Using the BlackBerry 8700g, users can also view common attachments such as PowerPoint, Excel and Word.

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T-Mobile Sues Cell Phone Record Brokers

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T-Mobile USA said it filed a lawsuit against online data brokers it believes are involved in illegally selling cell phone records of some of its customers. In a press release Monday, the unit of T-Mobile International, which is the mobile telephony arm of German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom AG, said the suit stems from an effort to restrain the “unlawful activities of entities that attempt to fraudulently obtain confidential customer information.”

In the lawsuit, which was filed in King County, Wash., T-Mobile is seeking an injunction to stop Locatecell.com, as well as related companies and individuals, from allegedly obtaining and selling private phone records.

T-Mobile also said that as a result of a continuing internal investigation, it has already issued numerous cease and desist letters against other companies it believes illegally obtained and sold phone-calling records of some customers.

Supreme Court rejects RIM’s case

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday pushed the maker of the BlackBerry e-mail device a step closer to a possible shutdown of U.S. service, refusing to review a major patent infringement ruling against the company. The high court rejected without comment a petition by Research In Motion Ltd. to review a federal appeals court ruling, which upheld infringement charges by NTP Inc., a U.S. patent holding company.

NTP Inc. said the court rejection had “closed the final path for RIM to avoid liability” in the case and cleared the way for a lower court to issue an injunction that would bar most U.S. BlackBerry sales and service.

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