Palm announced Monday that the next update of its Treo 650 phone will feature e-mail software from rival Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry device.
RIM's agreement to license its BlackBerry Connect software to Sunnyvale-based Palm is a win for both companies, analysts said. It will allow Palm to make further inroads into the world of business consumers, where the BlackBerry has been successful. And Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, anticipating that it might lose customers to Palm, recognizes it can still make money and build loyalty by offering a BlackBerry product on Palm phones.
For Palm, the deal ``gives them more credibility'' among business customers, said Todd Kort, an analyst with Gartner. ``And RIM's thinking, `We might as well pick up some licensing revenue and maintain customer loyalty.' ''
The new Treo 650 will hit shelves in early 2006. BlackBerry Connect will be one of several e-mail programs -- as well as Seven, Visto and GoodLink -- available to consumers who buy the phone. Price information was not released.
``We're thrilled to make it even better by answering customer requests and offering RIM's BlackBerry e-mail solution for businesses,'' said Palm Chief Executive Ed Colligan, referring to the Treo 650.
``We are extremely pleased to broaden the choice of BlackBerry-enabled handsets with the Treo 650,'' said Jim Balsillie, RIM's chief executive.
The announcement doesn't necessarily mean Palm and RIM will stop competing, or that RIM has stopped trying to improve its devices, Kort said. RIM's 7100 series of phones look a great deal like the Treo and have BlackBerry's best voice quality yet, he said.
Gartner estimates that about 4 million people worldwide use BlackBerry, and about 2.5 million use Treo phones.