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PalmSource, RIM team for BlackBerry connectivity

The companies announce plans to collaborate on software that will enable Palm OS-based handhelds to use RIM's BlackBerry wireless service.

PalmSource and Research In Motion on Thursday made public their plans to collaborate on software that will allow handhelds based on the Palm operating system to use RIM's BlackBerry wireless service.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based PalmSource and Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, which announced an alliance in May, said in a statement that they plan to create an e-mail application for Palm OS that will arrive in the latter half of 2004.

The application will allow Palm OS licensees to connect their wireless handhelds and cellular phones to RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server or BlackBerry Web Client, or both, the company said. Each can deliver e-mail to handhelds via a wireless network.

RIM's BlackBerry services has become popular among businesses, as it allows employees to access their e-mail and other information while out of the office or in meetings, without the need for a laptop computer.

PalmSource--a separate company from PalmOne, which builds Palm handhelds--has been working to expand the technology and services available to its licensees and their Palm OS-based handhelds. A number of companies, including Samsung and Sony, have licensed Palm OS for use on cellular phones and handhelds. Sony's Clie PDA (personal digital assistant) uses the OS, for example.

"We believe that Palm OS, together with RIM's innovative BlackBerry connectivity will meet the growing needs of our customers and Palm OS developers," David Nagel, PalmSource's CEO, said in a statement.

But PalmSource has also formed an alliance with Good Technology, to make Good's GoodLink communications software and services available on the Palm OS. GoodLink also allows handhelds to access things like business e-mail via a wireless link.

The software collaboration between PalmSource and RIM formalizes the companies' relationship, they said.. The companies plan to negotiate a separate distribution agreement for the software at a later date.

For its part, RIM also launched a technology licensing program, dubbed Blackberry Connect, earlier this year.