RIM taps Intel to power new BlackBerry

Intel Corp. will supply the chips powering upcoming models of Research In Motion Ltd.’s Blackberry mobile e-mail device, the two firms said Tuesday. The long-rumored partnership will see RIM use Intel’s PXA9xx processor, codenamed “Hermon,” for its next-generation BlackBerry, which will run on high-speed Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) networks.

EDGE is a mobile network standard that lets users connect to the Internet and send and receive data with broadband-like speed. Shares of Intel (down $0.16 to $24.06, Research) were down about 1 percent while RIM’s (down $0.39 to $77.20, Research) stock edged lower in afternoon trading in New York.

The two companies said they will also work together to “drive new wireless technologies and handset features.” “The excitement of these devices based on (Intel’s chips) is going to help us expand into new markets,” RIM Co-Chief Executive Mike Lazaridis told a news conference in San Francisco. The chief executive said users would notice a “snappy performance” on the new device, due out later this year, because of its increased browser speed and improved imaging.

“It will appear instantaneous in many ways,” he said.

Intel’s chips will also allow Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM to add features to the BlackBerry without compromising battery life, he said. A long battery life is among RIM’s top design requirements.

Launched in 1999 and known for its distinctive thumb-operated keyboard, the original BlackBerry helped RIM carve out a lucrative niche by popularizing wireless e-mailing with corporate users.

But RIM is facing fierce competition from much larger players that want in on the fast-growing wireless e-mail sector.

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