RIM boosts calendar capabilities with Tungle buy

Research in Motion moved to boost its mobile devices’ calendar capabilities by buying Tungle, an enterprise scheduling application developer, for an undisclosed sum.

Tungle.me, which made its debut at DEMO in 2008 (and returned in 2009), is a cloud-based planning application that helps friends and co-workers share their calendars and create schedules for meetings based on availability. Tungle lets smart phone users sync up with several different calendar applications, including Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple iCal and Entourage for Macs.

In a blog post announcing the deal, Tungle CEO Marc Gingras said he was “excited” that the business would be joining with a “dominant player” in the smart phone and tablet market. He also assured current Tungle users that the company’s core mission has not changed with the RIM acquisition.

“Our plan today is what it has always been — for Tungle to become integrated with your daily activities and be ubiquitous within the applications you’re already using,” he wrote. “When you think scheduling, Tungle should be at your fingertips. As of today, the entire team is joining the ranks of RIM.”

RIM has gone on a buying spree over the past couple of years in an effort to boost its devices to compete with the iPhone and popular Android-based devices. In 2009, for instance, RIM acquired open-source browser developer Torch Mobile, which specialized in developing mobile Web browsers, RSS readers and widget platforms. And just last year, RIM purchased Cellmania, a company that offers back-end infrastructure to mobile app stores; Viigo, a software developer that specializes in delivering syndicated content such as news, weather and stock quotes to wireless devices; and The Astonishing Tribe, a Swedish company known best for its user interfaces on both smart phones and tablets.

RIM has seen its share of the smart phone market steadily decline over the past year as it has faced stiffer competition from Android, Apple and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. According to data released by market research firm Canalys, RIM’s share of the global smart phone market dropped from 20% at the end of 2009 down to 14.4% at the end of 2010, despite seeing its overall shipments increase from 10.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 14.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

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