Research In Motion’s partnership with Intel for its next generation of BlackBerry devices will spur ISVs to build more powerful applications for the handhelds, according to industry members.The two companies announced last month that RIM is adopting Intel’s PXA9 cellular processor for upcoming devices running on wireless EDGE networks, which run at higher speeds than most current cellular systems. That will drive some companies to build applications to take advantage of the promised speed.
“This announcement is encouraging as it opens up the possibility for businesses to access the data they need as the use of BlackBerrys and other mobile devices becomes more pervasive,” said Peter Callaghan, executive vice-president for sales and marketing of Vancouver’s Maximizer Software.
“We expect this will significantly increase the use of applications like Maximizer Enterprise, because the Intel processor and the EDGE network will make it faster than existing devices.
“Wireless CRM is a powerful application that can help BlackBerry customers improve workflow and productivity. As a BlackBerry Alliance Program member we look forward to working with RIM to fulfill the growing demand for wireless CRM applications.”
John Jackson, a wireless analyst with the Yankee Group, also sees opportunities for ISVs and solution providers. “This enables RIM to access high speed networks which opens up markets for new applications beyond e-mail,” he said.
The impact of using an EDGE network will particularly be noticeable for just Web browsing, he added, which on current networks “is an exercise that would test the patience of Job.”
EDGE, short for enhanced data rates for global evolution, is a broadband technology for taking GSM networks to 3G levels.
In Canada, Rogers Communications offers EDGE service in most major cities. In the U.S., RIM’s biggest market, it’s offered by Cingular.
RIM also said it will adopt Intel’s XScale architecture on the new devices.
Neither side said when the new device will appear on the market, although industry analysts believe it won’t be long.
Brian Sharwood of the SeaBoard Group said both companies have broad aims with the pact. RIM gains a big-name partner to help it compete against Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola, while Intel can learn about RIM’s power management technology and get its processors into a new cellular device.
“This is a really big deal for Intel,” said Jackson. “Intel does very well in the handheld device space in memory and in higher-end devices with its applications processors, but historically it hasn’t done well in communications processors.”