Lenovo, RIM Partner With Constant Connect

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Computer maker Lenovo and mobile device manufacturer Research In Motion are coming together in a formalized partnership Monday that will create improved synchronization between BlackBerrys and ThinkPads.

Lenovo Constant Connect is a move by the PC maker to help enterprise employees have better access to e-mail without going through the work of synching the devices. Constant Connect is run through a PCI express card that fits into a ThinkPad. Once inserted, the PCI card transfers e-mails from a BlackBerry to the laptop even if the device is off, suspended or hibernating using Bluetooth technology.

"Constant Connect transfers files in their native format," said Rich Cheston, executive director and distinguished engineer for Lenovo.

According to Cheston, Constant Connect can be put most effectively to use by mobile employees who don't want to spend time waiting for their e-mail to replicate onto a notebook. The product will improve battery life and reduce the need for Internet connectivity for users.

"Users won't have to pay for a Wi-Fi hotspot to check their e-mail on their laptop anymore," Cheston said. "Looking in the other direction, Constant Connect saves battery life because it removes the need to power up a Think Pad and use a screen to check up-to-date e-mail on a BlackBerry."

As it turns out, RIM's customers were looking to read e-mail on a bigger screen and have a larger keyboard at their disposal with which to respond.

The CEOs of the two companies met and eventually hammered out details and formalized a contractual partnership.

"With more and more mobile professionals relying on both their BlackBerry smartphones and ThinkPad laptop PCs, we view better integration between the two devices as a necessity," said Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo, in a statement.

Lenovo and RIM's Constant Connect will be available early in the second quarter in the United States; worldwide availability is expected in the second half of 2009. The e-mail sync card will be compliant with all BlackBerrys version 4.2 or later.

Price for Lenovo's Constant Connect will be $150 or less and will be a one-time fee.

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