TORONTO Research In Motion plans to provide BlackBerry users with an easy way to tap their contacts' public profiles -- including blog posts, tweets, emails and other details -- in its latest push to regain ground in the shartphone market.
The new contact management feature, which pulls in contact details from social media and other Internet sites into a single Blackberry page, will be available on RIM's next generation of smartphones that are set to launch early next year, the company said on Thursday.
RIM has seen its once dominant position in the smartphone market slip away to rivals including Apple Inc. and Samsung -- and the company's fate depends on the success of the BB10 devices.
"BlackBerry has always had this heritage of productivity ... We are just going to make it better yet again, when we launch BB10," said T.A. McCann, who is spearheading the development of the contacts and BlackBerry Messenger applications for the new platform.
The new smartphones that will replace RIM's current line-up of aging devices will run on the BlackBerry 10 operating system that is currently in development.
McCann said the built-in contacts app on BB10 will aggregate all contact information, status updates and meetings for a contact in one place. It will also pull in any current status updates from contacts on Facebook, Twitter and other places giving users a wealth of up-to-date information on their contacts.
Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM is hoping that its new line of devices will help it regain market share that has been ceded to snazzier devices such as Apple's iPhone and others that run on Google Inc's Android operating system.
McCann, who was the founder and Chief Executive of Seattle-based Gist that was acquired by RIM in early 2011, promises that BlackBerry users will get to enjoy many of Gist's innovative contact management ideas on the new BB10 platform.
McCann said many of the features have already been built into the contact management system on the latest version of the operating system that powers RIM's PlayBook tablet device.
(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Ken Wills)