BlackBerries to Become More Functional

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In the past few years, Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry line and its push email system has enjoyed phenomenal success, and at this point is driving much of the growth in the handheld market.

However, there is a fly in the ointment: people have begun to demand that their BlackBerries do more than just email. Fortunately for RIM, it has a plan to satisfy them.

In a recent interview, the company’s co-CEO and Chairman James Balsillie told eWeek that, in the near future, BlackBerries will be released that offer MP3 players and cameras with both image capture and video capabilities.

Just a few days ago, a rumor emerged indicating that Cingular would begin offering a BlackBerry with an MP3 player this fall.

Balsillie also said that Wi-Fi wireless networking will be part of a BlackBerry coming out before the end of this year. Presumably this will allow the device to support VoIP, though this wasn’t explicitly stated.

In addition, it seems RIM is getting serious about GPS. Balsillie indicated that just about all future BlackBerries would have satellite location systems built in, and the ones that don’t will be able to connect to a GPS receiver with Bluetooth.

The complete interview with Balsillie can be found on the eWeek web site.

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