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RIM to Roll Out "Virtual BlackBerry" Software

Research In Motion is set to roll out new software that will let users turn smartphones running on Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform into virtual BlackBerries.

RIM plans to offer the software for a number of devices running Windows Mobile 6.0. Once installed, it will provide users with access to BlackBerry applications like its e-mail, phone, calendar, address book, instant messages and other functions.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company will make the software available on devices offered by a number of telecom companies later this year, likely in the fall.

"We're working very closely with AT&T, as an example," RIM co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie said in an interview. "There'll be other carriers that are highly supportive of this."

Orange Business Services announced earlier this month that it will launch the first smartphone with Windows Mobile 6.0 on the British market. Balsillie did not specifically say whether RIM plans to work with Orange.

"It will be a broad array of devices," he said.

The software will appear as an icon on the screen of a smartphone and will have the same interface as a BlackBerry. Users will be able to toggle between the Windows Mobile and BlackBerry interfaces, the company said.

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