Sony Ericsson to add BlackBerry, push-to-talk

In a move to add new features to its mobile phones, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB has signed separate deals with Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) and Sonim Technologies Inc., the companies said this week at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes.

The agreement with RIM will allow Sony Ericsson’s P900 smart phones, using the OS version 7.0 developed by Symbian Ltd., to connect with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Web Client services for enterprises and individual users, according to the companies. Sony Ericsson expects to provide BlackBerry connectivity on the P900 later this year, it said.

A key feature of RIM’s e-mail technology is its “always-on” connectivity, providing automatic e-mail delivery.

The integration of RIM client software on the new P900 smart phone will increase the attractiveness of the handset to enterprise customers who have already deployed BlackBerry technology, according to Michael Ransom, senior analyst with Current Analysis Inc. At the same time, by offering a Symbian OS client, RIM, based in Waterloo, Ont., can easily incorporate its technology into the growing number of Symbian OS-based smart phones from other manufacturers, he said.

The P900 smart phone offers functions ranging from voice and e-mail to text and picture messaging and full PDA capabilities. The phone also includes an integrated camera and a colour touch-screen.

To accelerate the deployment of push-to-talk phones to the mass market, Sony Ericsson has agreed to collaborate with Sonim Technologies of San Mateo in the development of a new generation of handsets offering the walkie-talkie service, the companies said at the Cannes conference. Both companies are contributing members to the worldwide consortium that submitted a push-to-talk specification to the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) standards body.

Under their agreement, Sony Ericsson will use Sonim’s push-to-talk client software in its phones. The London-based venture, which is owned jointly by Tokyo’s Sony Corp. and Stockholm’s Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, sees a time-to-market advantage in using this software to launch phones conforming to OMA standards, it said.

In Cannes, rival Nokia Corp. announced a push-to-talk licensing agreement with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

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