updated 01:55 pm EST, Thu January 31, 2008
BlackBerry music add-on
Research in Motion has developed what should be the company's first consumer-oriented phone add-on, FCC filings show. The device is currently known as the BlackBerry Remote Stereo Gateway, and is essentially a Bluetooth receiver that connects directly to a audio system while streaming music from a nearby BlackBerry phone. It may in theory be compatible with other Bluetooth devices as well, since such receivers do not typically use proprietary instructions. No release date has been made public.
The move marks a new stage in the progression of RIM, which has been increasingly pushing into the realm of consumer smartphones. Traditionally, BlackBerries have been aimed at businessmen and other professionals, who take advantage of the keypad and dedicated e-mail service. Beginning with the Pearl 8100 though, RIM has tried to make phones more user-friendly, gradually adding features such as 3G, a GPS receiver, and better web browsing. Rumors have circulated that RIM is currently working on a touchscreen BlackBerry, which could put the company into closer competition with Apple's iPhone. [via Financial Post]