Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry, is partnering with singer Will.i.am to help merge social networking and multimedia. This is seen as a move by RIM to gain more market share in the consumer retail market.
Will.i.am’s Dipdive online community and content will become wirelessly available on the BlackBerry, said RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie.
“Probably the two hottest trends in wireless are social networking … and the other one is the multimedia, which is principally portable music,” Balsillie said.
Will.i.am is famous for his career with the band Black Eyed Peas and his “Yes We Can” Barack Obama video, which became a huge hit on YouTube.
Balsillie said users currently view social networking and downloading music and other multimedia as two separate experiences. He thinks the two will merge into one.
Dipdive is an example of this. Political blogging meets music video content.
“It brings the artist into a direct relationship with the fan,” Balsillie said.
RIM is increasing its offerings of “lifestyle applications” like games and multimedia in an attempt to attract more retail users to the traditionally business focused BlackBerry.
Last fall RIM launched Facebook software designed for its smartphones to make it easier for customers to browse the popular social networking Web site.
As RIM tries to expand its consumer base, about two-thirds of all 12 million BlackBerry subscriptions are still classified as government or large corporation.