BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie announced a series of new partnerships with content providers in a morning keynote at CTIA, but hinted at much more to come. After walking the audience through RIM’s (NSDQ: RIMM) 20-year history and the changes he expects to come to the wireless content space, Balsillie announced a BlackBerry Developer Conference slated for Oct. 20-22 in Santa Clara where more of RIM’s content plans will come to light. Balsillie: “There’s a convergence of the four screens… The imperative for the carriers is … how they maintain a role in this convergence of four screens.” But RIM is blazing a consumer-focused content trail without much input from carriers. It’s an approach that’s been in play at various handset manufacturers for years now and one that’s growing substantially throughout the industry.
New content announcements and data from existing deals:
— Facebook: Since the application was announced at CTIA about 11 months ago, the Facebook for RIM application has been downloaded 2.5 million times. Balsillie: “It’s been the fastest take up of any application that we’ve ever had.”
— MySpace: RIM is bullish on mobile social networking and as such has struck a new relationship with MySpace to bring “one of the most trafficked sites on the internet” to BlackBerry devices.
— NFL Mobile Live: BlackBerry’s been the number one mobile app platform.
More from this keynote after the jump…
— Slacker: The online music service is launching an application for BlackBerry that will include a free, ad-supported version and a premium subscription service without ads. With millions of songs in its catalog, the Slacker application will also allow users to cache thousands of songs on their BlackBerry for later listening. The service will automatically sync every time a user enters a Wi-Fi network.
— *Microsoft*: A new deal with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) was announced that will see the company’s Live Search get embedded into the BlackBerry browser and bring ads to various content spaces such as maps.
— *TiVo*: As we reported earlier, TiVo (NSDQ: TIVO) is now working with RIM on on a new application that will enable BlackBerry users to remotely schedule recordings. Down the road, RIM and TiVo plan to enable recorded content to be synced with BlackBerry devices for viewing on mobile.
TiVo and RIM are teaming up to enable BlackBerry users to remotely schedule recordings of TV shows on their DVRs…for now it is only about scheduling, but future plans include calling up the recorded video content on the phone as well.
— Ticketmaster: Under a new deal with the ticketing giant, BlackBerry users in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom will be able to browse and purchase tickets to live events. The software, which will launch by the end of the year, will also include alerts and eventually include the ability to push tickets directly to BlackBerry devices to access to venues without a physical ticket. Ballsillie, a self-professed rock concert fan himself, seemed most excited about the alert function: “So many times an event happens and you find out about it too late.”
— BlackBerry Unite: RIM is also releasing a free application that will sync users’ information between their PC and BlackBerry.