Microsoft and Research In Motion (RIM) have announced an agreement to provide Microsoft Windows Live services on RIM's BlackBerry smartphones, expected to be available by Winter.
According to RIM's Co-CEO, Michael Lazaridis, the company is the top smartphone vendor in market share in the United States and No. 2 worldwide.
The collaboration with Microsoft will offer BlackBerry users access to Windows Live Messenger, and better integration between Hotmail and the BlackBerry.
Signing into a BlackBerry with a Windows Live e-mail address and password will give access to the Hotmail and Messenger services, allowing users to communicate in real-time through their smartphones.
RIM's vice president of coporate marketing, Mark Guibert, said the agreement will provide BlackBerry users with a wider range of communication options for their mobile experience.
According to RIM, the integration of Windows Live Hotmail will allow customers to use BlackBerry's "push" technology for automatic message delivery and message synchronisation, ensuring a customer's online Hotmail account is up to date with actions taken on their smartphone.
There will be a dedicated inbox for Windows Live Hotmail messages, which will be automatically delivered to the BlackBerry, as well as the option to receive messages from other e-mail accounts in a single inbox on the smartphone.
Windows Live Messenger for the BlackBerry will feature instant messaging and group chatting, avatars, the ability to send and receive files, and will identify when fellow friends and colleagues using Messenger are online.
RIM did not specify exactly when the Windows Live services will be available to BlackBerry users, stating they are expected to be available globally this Winter.
Research in Motion recently unleashed its latest smartphone for the business-minded with the BlackBerry Bold, as reviewed by Good Gear Guide.