BlackBerry streaming music service coming soonBy Shawn Knight
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion will be launching a streaming music service to better compete with Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms. The company is reportedly in late negotiations with several record labels and is looking to introduce the new service by early September.
It is believed that the service will integrate with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), RIM's popular messaging service. More specifically, users would be able to share songs with BBM contacts, although it's unsure if BBM version 6 would be required or not. BBM 6 was released last month and requires OS 4.5 or above.
Several major recording labels are said to be signing on, including Universal Music Group, Sony Corp's Sony Music, Warner Music Group and EMI Group.
RIM has recently fallen on hard times in the US and this could be a last-ditch effort to turn things around. The company cut 2,000 jobs worldwide last month. Despite the recent turndown, RIM still has a solid owner base, especially among business professionals. The company ranked third in a recent study of US smartphone platform ownership with a 23.4 percent share. International sales are still strong, largely in part to the success of BBM.
Such a service could potentially help attract a more mainstream audience to BlackBerry, although it's more likely that the move will help keep current customers from switching to a more feature-rich iPhone or Android device. Although a specific release date wasn't mentioned, it is believed that the service will launch on or before Labor Day (September 5).