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4/28/2011
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RIM Acquires Cloud Calendar Startup Tungle

BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets will get enhanced scheduling and calendar capabilities in the wake of RIM's purchase of Tungle.

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Teardown
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Teardownr
Research In Motion announced Wednesday that it had acquired calendar and scheduling start-up Tungle, continuing RIMs acquisition of software companies to help bolster functionality for its BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook tablet.

Tungle is a cloud-based application that automates calendar processes and allows users to sync their disparate calendars together to streamline scheduling, eliminate double-bookings and clear time zone missteps.

"We're really excited about this. We know there isn't an industry more exciting than the smartphone and tablet markets," said Marc Gingras, CEO and founder of Tungle, in a blog post that announced the acquisition. "Our plan today is what it has always been--for Tungle to become integrated with your daily activities and be ubiquitous within the applications you're already using."

For RIM, the move is expected to bolster the calendar functionality in both the Blackberry phone and Playbook tablet.

"The Tungle team brings their expertise in cloud-based, cross-platform, calendar aggregation to the BlackBerry platform," said a RIM official in an email interview. "By working with Tungle to add cloud-based, cross-platform calendar capabilities to the BlackBerry platform, RIM can further enrich customers' experience with BlackBerry."

Tungle is one of many recent acquisitions made by RIM to increase its smartphone and tablet portfolio to compete with the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft in the burgeoning mobile and tablet marketplace. Last August, RIM acquired Cellmania, a developer of software used to create online storefronts for customers to purchase applications. RIM's previous online storefront for Blackberry users, App World, was criticized for being cumbersome. Earlier last year, in April, RIM acquired QNX Software Systems in order to integrate RIM's smartphones with an in-vehicle entertainment platform. And, last September, RIM acquired DataViz, a company that creates mobile office software.

RIM said the acquisitions were simply part of the company's strategy to keep "users connected to the people and information that matter most throughout their day."

What RIM didn't say, however, is that BlackBerry is clearly behind the iPhone and Android-powered devices in both the smartphone and tablet markets. RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has had a decent number of sales in the market, but was met with tepid reviews, with some reviewers calling it "half baked", as if RIM rushed the release date to better compete with Apple's iPad.

The new messaging and calendar features provided by Tungle could help to improve functionality in the Blackberry and Playbook. Currently, Playbook owners can only access accounts such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail through icons built into the browser.

The only other connectivity of calendars for the PlayBook is from the BlackBerry Bridge, a feature that allows BlackBerry users to connect to their PlayBook via Bluetooth. The BlackBerry Bridge was criticized by reviewers since it requires the PlayBook buyer to have a BlackBerry phone. RIM said the upside of this is that it leverages the security and device management infrastructure of BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

The PlayBook tablet was released on April 19 to mostly negative or lukewarm reviews, selling about 50,000 devices. RIM's PlayBook is costs $499 for the 16-GB model, $599 for the 32-GB model and $699 for the 64-GB version.

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