Research In Motion is continuing its “development by acquisition” strategy as it announced today that the company has acquired calendar and scheduling application Tungle.me.
The words “calendar” and “BlackBerry” have been together a lot recently. That is because RIM’s new tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook, shipped without a native calendar, contacts or email clients, all of which RIM has promised for “later this summer.” There is no official word yet if RIM plans on integrating Tungle into the PlayBook but it would make a lot of sense.
With the PlayBook, RIM has gone down the acquisition road a couple times already. The software that the tablet runs on was acquired when RIM bought QNX Neutrino in April, 2010. Eventually, the contacts application will probably be built from Gist, a startup that RIM acquired in February. Even the bulk of the tablet’s applications will come from outside sources as RIM plans the PlayBook running Android apps within QNX (also, of course, coming later this summer).
Like the Gist team, the entire Tungle team will be joining RIM to carry its product over the smartphone maker.
“Yup. It’s official. The team at Tungle will now be sporting new BlackBerrys,” wrote Tungle CEO and founder Marc Gingras on the Tungle site. “We’re really excited about this. We know there isn’t an industry more exciting than the smartphone and tablet markets. And RIM is a dominant player in this space.”
RIM still is a dominant player in the smartphone space but its hold on market share has become tenuous with the rise of Android and iOS. The long-awaited BlackBerry 6 operating system was met with little praise when it debuted last year and the smartphone OS is about a year’s worth of development behind its top two rivals. One way to fix this would be to merge the QNX OS with the BlackBerry smartphone OS and the ability of the tablet software to support native applications on smartphones. The bridge that RIM needs to cross to merge the two platforms is likely to be paved with acquisitions such as Tungle.me and Gist.
Merging of operating systems is a bit of a trend right now in the mobile space as companies that historically do one thing well try to incorporate other mobile strategies. Windows 8 may be a mashup of Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7, Hewlett-Packard is going to wedge the WebOS it acquired from Palm into its computers running Windows and there is a significant chance that Android and Google Chrome OS will one day be one and the same.
The most direct comparison to RIM merging BlackBerry OS 6 and QNX will be when Google unveils Ice Cream Sandwich, the next Android version that is said to be a mix between smartphone Gingerbread and tablet Honeycomb. In the middle of it all stands Apple, smug and content with one very effective system: iOS.