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Rollout: RIM's BlackBerry Connect

RIM succeeds in offering a "BlackBerry Lite" experience--extending mobile e-mail software to Palm OS devices.

Although other carriers, mostly those in Asia and Australia, have had the BlackBerry Connect client for the Palm Treo 650 for several months, Cingular's recent launch marks the solution's first entry into the U.S. market. In addition to the Palm OS, the BlackBerry Connect client is available for a variety of smartphone platforms, including Windows Mobile 5 and Symbian. Availability depends on your carrier and where you are in the world.

How We Tested

We tested BlackBerry Connect in our Syracuse University Real-World Labs® using a Treo 650 from Palm and service provided by Cingular Wireless. We installed Microsoft Exchange 2003 and BES 4.1 on separate Dell PowerEdge SC1425 servers running Windows Server 2003. We also used a Toshiba Satellite 1200 as an Outlook client device. For comparison, we also looked at a BlackBerry 8700c smartphone.

Unlike its BlackBerry OS-driven brethren, deployment options for BlackBerry Connect are somewhat limited. Many admins prefer over-the-air activation, for example, which uses a wireless network to activate client devices for use on a BES server. BlackBerry Connect has no such activation option. Nor can administrators configure BlackBerry Connect devices using RIM's BlackBerry Manager software. Users must download the software from Palm's Web site onto their own desktops.

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