Slacker’s interactive radio service will be made available using Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry devices, as the latter firm works to make its devices more interesting to the consumer users as it faces competition from the Apple iPhone.
The move to add Slacker to the mix means that, come October, BlackBerry users in the US will be able to listen to artist channels, high quality stations and customised channels which can be created online or on the device.
The service will be available for use at no charge, though listeners must be prepared for adverts to pop up between songs from time-to-time, and, as the Listening Post explains, you can’t skip more than five songs every hour.
Stations will be cached on the Blackberry in order that they can be played even when a user’s not on a WiFi or 3G connection.
“BlackBerry smartphones have evolved with advanced communications and multimedia capabilities to become modern lifestyle devices that are used in highly personalized ways and the free Slacker Personal Radio application is a great example of a mobile entertainment application that can add value to the user’s mobile experience in a meaningful way,” said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO of Research In Motion.
RIM yesterday also announced deals with MySpace, Ticketmaster, Microsoft and Sprint. AOL and Google have also confirmed plans to introduce applications and services to the device.
Despite RIM’s transparent attempt to protect its own marketshare, some analysts don’t think the company is in too much iPhone-driven danger. Changewave research analyst, Paul Carton, thinks there’s space for Apple and for RIM.
“The Apple iPhone has captured the hearts and minds of its user base, and so has the RIM BlackBerry,” Carton said. “Fortunately for both, the global consumer and enterprise smart phone markets are big enough to support both Apple and RIM – it’s the other cell phone manufacturers that look like the real losers.”