Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry smartphone, has announced that it has acquired Tungle, which integrates with existing social networks and cloud-based calendaring systems to share their appointments, events, and calendar regardless of platform. In its blog, RIM says, “The Tungle team is bringing their expertise in cloud-based, cross-platform, calendar management to the BlackBerry platform.”
Tungle will help RIM make a push into the consumer smartphone and tablet space, which so far has been dominated by Apple iOS and Google Android devices. RIM, which had gotten its fame in the past in the enterprise space, is still trying to re-define itself and focus its strategy, which is now divided between corporate users and consumer users.
RIM’s emerging, yet cloudy, strategy is most evident with the introduction of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, a device that’s supposed to go head-to-head with Apple’s iPad, Google’s Android 3.0 slates, and the forthcoming HP webOS TouchPad tab. However, unlike its competitors, RIM, which has in the past been tied to its own push servers, known as the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for corporate users or the BlackBerry Internet Service for consumers, is launching the PlayBook without the core personal information management, or PIM app. Yes, the PlayBook, geared at both corporate users and consumers, is launching sans email, calendar, and contact apps.
The reason being that historically, those apps are tied together with RIM’s servers on a BlackBerry smartphone. With a BlackBerry smartphone, without a BlackBerry data plan, you can’t get emails through the BlackBerry email app and your contacts won’t sync over the cloud to the contact app even though the browser may work for Internet access. RIM’s secured, walled garden approach to selling the more expensive servers to accompany its smartphones left the company to be caught off guard when consumer-oriented tablets and devices launched. As such, perhaps, RIM needs extra time to actually develop a PIM suite that doesn’t tie to its servers and could work with POP/IMAP email accounts.
With that shifting strategy, perhaps Tungle will help RIM further its goals to being more consumer-friendly, especially on the PlayBook. By enabling social calendars, users can tap into services such as Google Calendar and Facebook to share their appointments with friends. Also, corporate users, who may not always be tied to Microsoft Outlook and RIM’s BES systems at work, can also collaborate with colleagues through other calendaring services outside of the BlackBerry server environments.
Tungle integrates with: Google, Yahoo!, FaceBook, TripIt, Plancast, Outlook, iCal, LotusNotes, LotusLive, and WindowsLive.
With HP/Palm’s Synergy engine for webOS able to integrate contacts, calendars, and events from various services, and Android performing a similar function through cloud synchronization, Tungle will definitely help BlackBerry be open and more integrative with other services.