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RIM pushes out BlackBerry content delivery tool

BlackBerry Push Service lets developers create Java apps and BlackBerry widgets that will transfer content out to users' devices almost instantaneously

Research In Motion has rolled out a new service for developers writing applications for BlackBerry smartphones, allowing them to transfer images, text and audio content to multiple devices at once.

BlackBerry Push Service, launched on Wednesday, is aimed at developers writing Java applications or BlackBerry widgets. The technology lets applications deliver content to enterprise customers through BlackBerry Enterprise Server and to consumers through BlackBerry Internet Service infrastructure.

"Unlike alternative push solutions that can only notify users that new content is available for download because of push message size limitations, with the BlackBerry Push Service, full content... is pushed to the device and made immediately available for use," Research In Motion (RIM) developer relations chief Mike Kirkup said in a Wednesday blog post.

Using the new service, the synchronised content must be 8KB or less in size, Kirkup said.

The big selling point of RIM's push technology is the fact that it sends information to the user's device almost immediately, rather than waiting for that device to poll the server for new information.

"The BlackBerry Push Service enables development of push applications that continuously listen in the background for incoming new content, allowing your application to act on them nearly immediately," Kirkup wrote.

Other mobile companies, such as Microsoft and Apple, also claim to use push technology for email and contact synchronisation, but this tends to be 'pull' technology with very frequent server polling — an alternative that often has a negative impact on handset battery life.

There are two versions of the new tool. BlackBerry Push Essentials is free and lets coders develop applications using the Push Service technology, while Push Plus has free and paid tiers and offers the developer more status notification and management functionality. Both versions can be evaluated for free.