RIM to Use Intel in BlackBerry Devices

Research in Motion Ltd. said Tuesday it will use Intel Corp.’s cellular microprocessors in upcoming BlackBerry devices as it tries to boost performance without sacrificing battery life. The widely expected move is expected to improve the BlackBerry’s ability to handle multimedia and Internet applications. The gadget is best known for its thumb keyboard and wireless messaging and some models also have phone and handheld computer capabilities.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM has chosen the Intel PXA9xx cellular processor, code named “Hermon.” The first BlackBerry products with the new technology would be available later this year, said RIM President Mike Lazaridis. No pricing was announced.

“We chose the Intel PXA9xx cellular processor because it provides us with the increased processing horsepower we need for future wireless applications, without compromising battery life requirements,” he said.

The companies also announced that they will work together to develop additional wireless and phone features.

The deal comes a day after RIM rival Palm Inc. announced it was offering a smart phone that runs Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Mobile operating system. The switch from PalmOS, now developed by a separate company, is expected make Palm more competitive.

Tuesday’s announcement represents a return to Intel for RIM. Some previous BlackBerry devices were built on Intel 386 chips — the same processors that powered desktop PCs in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Neither RIM nor Intel would disclose what chips are used in existing high-end BlackBerry devices.

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