"WATCH FOR ONCOMING TRAFFIC"
"Research In Motion, makers of the BlackBerry e-mail and phone device, announced partnerships Thursday with Google and an Apple accessory maker that will expand features such as instant messaging, e-mail and the ability to link a computer with a BlackBerry.
Owners of BlackBerry devices will be able to use a special version of the instant messaging program Google Talk, and download a free program to synchronize their devices with calendars on their Apple Macintosh computers."
But then I look at my T-Mobile Blackberry 7100t and see that it already comes with an instant messaging clients from AOL's AIM and ICQ, and Yahoo!
So what's the big deal?
Well, it SEEMS like a big deal because Google calls it's IM service "Google Talk", highlighting the internet telephony feature over the core IM functionality.
And support for internet telephony over a device that essentially is a cell phone WOULD be a very big deal. As Russell Shaw of ZDNet's IP Telephony blog points out:
"BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion draws its very sustenance from cellular carriers. Although $934 million of RIM's $1,350.4 billion Fiscal 2005 revenue was from the sale of BlackBerrys and only $235 million came from llular carrier partnerships, all BlackBerrys sold these days are cell phones...
From a careful read of the announcement, it appears that BlackBerry will only support Google Talk's instant messaging feature. The version of Google Talk that will be made available to BlackBerry users will not have a voice capability- not even to other BlackBerry users similar to Google Talk's current PC to PC voice functionality."
So Blackberry is watching out for where their current bread is buttered.
But for how long?
The point of all this is simple: there's an imminent collision coming. All the portals are furiously turning their IM clients into conduits for everything from internet telephony and video conferencing.
Cell phone/PDA vendors like Blackberry, Motorola, Nokia etc., will all need to support these IM clients because their customers will demand it. Especially as they add Wi-fi and other next-generation, "open" wireless technologies.
Stuck in the middle is today's oligopolistic, metered, "rolling in dough", traditional telephony/cell phone business. It's not a question of IF, but WHEN.
There's no fighting the Broadband freight-train.