Blackberry turns wireless calendar page

Wireless calendar updating to become a USP for RIM

Research In Motion's BlackBerry service isn't just about email.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company on Tuesday announced wireless calendar updating capabilities, to go along with wireless email for its line of BlackBerry pagers. Now, instead of using a cradle to synchronise their pagers with their PCs to get updates to their schedules, subscribers can do the updating wirelessly and on the fly as they do with their email. Calendar updates are likely to be a key lure for business customers, who are the heart of RIM's audience.

The new feature is another personalisation capability that highlights the potential of wireless technology. Analysts have said that for wireless technology to truly take off, it will have to enable services that can't be offered on other types of devices -- such as customizing information to suit the needs of a subscriber at any moment.

"Wireless calendar updates allow RIM devices to be truly personalized assistants," said Alex Slawsby, an IDC analyst. "This is the first sign of devices bending to suit the needs of the user, instead of the user having to adapt to what the device can do."

Other manufacturers, such as PDA maker Palm, have hinted at a similar capability to attract business users, but thus far RIM is the only major device manufacturer to offer wireless updating capabilities.

By incorporating wireless calendar synchronization, the RIM's BlackBerry devices become more of a direct competitor to PDAs, says Mark Guibert, RIM's director of marketing.

"The primary application [on the Blackberry] is to stay on top of the in-box and keep on top of the onslaught of email," he said. "With the wireless calendar, it becomes an integrated application."

Regardless of whether RIM's BlackBerry device is considered a pager or a PDA, RIM will be competing in two of the most popular gadget categories in the market.

RIM also announced an alliance with Lucent Technologies and the ability to wirelessly download and install applications with the aid of GoAmerica's new version 6.0 of Go.Web browser. The Lucent alliance focuses on a cooperative effort to test 3G networks.

Michael Kanellos contributed to this report.

Take me to the Mobile Technology Special

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read what others have said.