RIM Faces New Challenges as BlackBerry Gains Mass Appeal


Research In Motion (RIM) is working to address the widening appeal of its BlackBerry smartphones beyond corporate e-mail users. A series of announcements from companies adding consumer-friendly services like music and social networking to BlackBerry devices indicates that the phones are becoming mass-market items.

On 12 March 2008, Canadian company Puretracks debuted its music service for BlackBerry devices at the SXSW event in Austin, Texas. Dubbed Puretracks Mobile Edition music store for BlackBerry, the service will allow users to download and play DRM-free songs on their BlackBerry devices. The service will initially be available in the US.

The Puretracks announcement follows the appearance of other consumer-centric services for RIM's devices, such as SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry, which was announced earlier in the year, and Facebook for BlackBerry, which launched in October 2007.

Further indication of the growing consumer appeal of the BlackBerry also came at Mobile World Congress 2008, when Vodafone announced that it had selected BlackBerry as a "mass-market consumer platform".