Research in Motion has announced a deal that will see Microsoft invest in search and maps for BlackBerry, and also unveiled two new Bold handsets
New BlackBerry mobile phones will include “deep” integration with Microsoft’s search engine Bing, the company has announced.
Speaking at the BlackBerry World Conference in Orlando, Florida, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s Chief Executive, said that his company would invest “uniquely” in Research in Motion’s products.
Bing will become the default provider for search and maps, as well as thoroughly integrated within BlackBerry’s new operating system, OS 7. "This goes way beyond search box," Ballmer said.
"It's about real tools that help real people get things done."
A demonstration video showed Bing’s voice-activated search as well as street-level mapping technology. Microsoft said that the partnership would also include preferential placement for Bing Apps on the BlackBerry App World app store.
BlackBerry’s conference also saw the announcement of new apps for its PlayBook, including Facebook and video chat, along with two new Bold handsets using the forthcoming BB OS 7 operating system.
The company said that the Bold 9900 and 9930 are “the thinnest and most powerful BlackBerry smartphones yet, featuring the renowned BlackBerry keyboard together with a brilliant touch screen”.
The devices are 10.2mm thick and run 1.2ghz processor, making them the fastest devices BlackBerry has yet produced.
Featuring near-field communications, improved Office integration and better web browsing, both devices will launch over the summer. The 9930 differs only from the 9900 because of its CDMA network compatibility.
Analysts CCS Insight described the new devices as “much-needed updates”, and said that the Bing deal allowed BlackBerry to address weaknesses while also showing that Bing was beginning to become a rival to Google search.