BlackBerry buys software company to beef up apps store


Toronto : Desperate to catch up with Apple and Google Android devices in apps, BlackBerry has bought Montreal-based software company Tungle that develops apps that allow users to schedule and synchronize meetings over their smart phones, computers and tablets.

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At about 20,000 RIM’s app store compares poorly with Apple and Google’s Android operating system which boast almost 290,000 and 150,000 apps respectively.

Tungle apps support Microsoft’s Outlook, Google, Apple iCal, Entourage for Mac, Lotus Notes, Windows Live and Yahoo and connects to major social networks such as Facebook, Plancast, TripIt, LinkedIn and Twitter.

In a statement, Tungle said it has been acquired by Research In Motion (RIM), without revealing any financial details of the deal.

“As of today, the entire team is joining the ranks of RIM. 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,” said Tungle CEO Marc Gingras.

He said, “This is exciting for you too as we expect the Tungle service to only get better. Our plan today is what it has always been – for Tungle to become integrated with your daily activities and be ubiquitous within the applications you’re already using. When you think scheduling, Tungle should be at your fingertips.”

The latest acquisition by the BlackBerry maker comes just days before its annual BlackBerry World Conference in Orlando, Florida, next week where it is likely to unveil its new Blackberry operating system as well as some smart phones.

Though RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie has recently made light of BlackBerry’s lack of apps as compared to iPhones and Google Android, there is no doubt that the Canadian wireless giant is desperate in search of app developers.

Last month, RIM signed a deal with Indian-owned Polar Mobile here to develop exclusive apps for its PlayBook tablet.

A leading mobile content solutions enabler for large media companies, Toronto-based Polar Mobile is headed by Indian-origin Kunal Gupta. It has already developed over 180 apps for RIM’s BlackBerry smart phones.