RIM to bring Will.i.am's Dipdive to BlackBerry

Thu Mar 6, 2008 1:16pm EST
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is partnering with pop artist Will.i.am to help merge social networking and multimedia, in the company's latest move to gain more traction in the consumer retail market.

RIM will make Will.i.am's Dipdive online community and content available wirelessly on the BlackBerry, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in an interview.

"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 known for his career with the band Black Eyed Peas and his "Yes We Can" Barack Obama video, a huge hit on YouTube.com, where it has garnered millions of hits.

Balsillie said users currently view social networking and downloading music and other multimedia as two separate experiences. Increasingly, he believes, they are merging into one.

Dipdive, he said, is an example of this -- where politics-heavy blogging meets music video content.

"It brings the artist into a direct relationship with the fan," Balsillie said.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM has steadily expanded its offering of so-called "lifestyle applications" like games and multimedia in a bid to attract more retail users to the traditionally business-focused BlackBerry.   Continued...

<p>Will.i.am performs "Record of the Year Mash Up" at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles February 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake</p>