BEA, RIM bring Web services to BlackBerry device

Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) and BEA Systems Inc. are working on a development tool to help rogrammers create software and Web services for BlackBerry wireless devices, the companies announced Wednesday.

San Jose, Calif., application infrastructure software maker BEA and Waterloo, Ont., RIM want to make it easier for independent software vendors (ISVs) and in-house corporate developers to create Internet-accessible software over the wireless handheld BlackBerry devices, the companies said in a joint statement.

“It will be a single, simple framework for developing and then deploying mobile Web services using BEA’s WebLogic Enterprise Platform. For the most part, this will start off as a North American-focused project, but it will begin to make its way over to Europe,” said RIM spokeswoman Joanna Lane.

Financial terms of the deal between RIM and BEA will not be disclosed, Lane said.

The BEA/RIM development tool will make use of the BEA WebLogic Workshop framework, which was created to let programmers who have only basic knowledge of J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), to build Web-services applications, RIM and BEA said.

BEA joins companies such as Microsoft Corp., IBM Corp, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Oracle Corp. that have begun to reach out to ISVs in an effort to create software and services for mobile devices.

For example, last month Microsoft released the first public beta version of its .Net Compact Framework, a tool subset for use in developing software for handheld computers running Microsoft’s Pocket PC software, its operating software for smart phones, and other Windows CE-based devices.

RIM began selling the BlackBerry device, which looks like a pager with a large screen and keyboard, in Europe late last year through mmO2 PLC of London, and in April signed an agreement with mobile-phone operator Vodafone Ltd. to start selling the devices in the U.K. and the rest of Europe within the next few months. In March, RIM and Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Ltd. agreed to bring the BlackBerry services to Asia.”