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BlackBerry To Add Slacker, TiVo Apps

Waterloo, Ontario – Research In Motion continued to add entertainment features to its productivity-oriented BlackBerry wireless phones by announcing plans for an application that will store music from Slacker’s Internet radio service and another application that will enable RIM’s phones to remotely control a TiVo via cellular.

The TiVo application, due sometime later this year, will enable BlackBerry users to remotely program their TiVo DVR, search program listings, and get daily programming recommendations. “Future collaboration between the companies will focus on software applications that further simplify mobile access to video content,” RIM added. Presumably, the company was referring to a place-shifting application that would enable BlackBerry users to view place-shifted DVR content. A TiVo spokeswoman confirmed that “the platforms are capable of this type of application,” but she added, “We have nothing specific to announce right now.

The TiVo applications would not require the addition of an external box to the DVR, the TiVo spokesman said, because “all TiVo Series2, Series3, TiVo HD, and XL have Ethernet ports to connect to broadband.”

The Slacker app, whose availability wasn’t announced, would enable BlackBerry owners to listen to up to 10 preprogrammed and custom-created Internet radio “stations” whose songs are stored locally and updated regularly when synced to a PC, RIM told TWICE.

The TiVo announcement won’t make BlackBerries the first phones that can remotely program a TiVo. Such applications are already available for over-the-air download to many Verizon Wireless phones. In addition, settop products and mobile apps from Sling Media and Monsoon deliver the same capability to any brand of DVR while also enabling a cellphone, via cellular airwaves, to stream DVR-stored video and live TV programming from a home TV via cellular. In addition, Sling Media plans such an app for BlackBerry phones later this year, a spokesman said.

SlingPlayer Mobile app are already available to stream video to mobile devices based on the Palm, Symbian S60, Windows Mobile Pocket PC (2003, 5 and 6), and Windows Mobile Smartphone (5 and 6).