RIM to bring AOL, Yahoo IMs to BlackBerry

Research In Motion has expanded its partnership with Net companies to offer instant-message service over its wireless handheld device.

BlackBerry maker Rearch In Motion is broadening its menu of instant-messaging options.

New services for the iconic handheld communications device include instant-messaging offerings from Yahoo and America Online, the companies announced on Monday in conjunction with the CTIA Wireless show in New Orleans. RIM also announced software deals with Sybase and High Tech Computer.

The BlackBerry will be preloaded with Yahoo's IM software "in the coming months," the companies said, without getting more specific. Yahoo Messenger users will have full wireless access to their contacts and be able to carry on multiple chat sessions.

Currently, BlackBerry users can access Yahoo offerings such as search, news and sports updates, depending on availability through phone carriers.

RIM is also working with America Online to include AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ services on the BlackBerry, besides offering AOL's mobile mail service. BlackBerry users will get access to their AOL Buddy List feature or ICQ contact list for chatting on both networks. No schedule was given for when the services would be available.

Two years ago, AOL ended a deal with RIM in which the two offered a co-branded wireless messaging device. Shortly after that, RIM began equipping the BlackBerry with instant-messaging software from IBM's Lotus division.

Separately, software maker Sybase announced plans to enhance support for the BlackBerry in its iAnywhere mobile product portfolio. Companies already using BlackBerry for enterprise e-mail will be able to access sales-force automation, field service and other applications. Enterprise users will be able to perform tasks such as asset management, content and software deployment, and configuration management for all of their mobile devices, the software maker said.

Through a deal with High Tech Computer, the maker of PalmOne's Treo 650, RIM will expand distribution of its BlackBerry Connect software on HTC-built handheld devices that use the Windows Mobile operating system.

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