It must be hard on AOL – most of their customers have never been on the AOL site while folks with AOL.com mail accounts are considered pariahs at best and fools at worst. That said, RIM is now offering AOL Mail, AIM, and ICQ on BlackBerry smartphones.
AOL and RIM to Bring AOL Mail, AIM and ICQ Services to BlackBerry Smartphones Worldwide
NEW YORK and WATERLOO, ON – AOL and Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced the availability of AOL’s leading AIM and ICQ instant messaging services as well as AOL Mail on BlackBerry® smartphones. The deep integration of AOL’s popular communications services with BlackBerry smartphones will allow consumers around the world to seamlessly access AOL’s most popular services directly from their BlackBerry smartphone and communicate in real-time with business associates, family, friends and other contacts.
“We’re thrilled to work with RIM to make our leading email and instant messaging services available to BlackBerry smartphone users worldwide,” said Kevin Conroy, Executive Vice President for AOL. “By integrating our AOL Mail, AIM and ICQ services with the BlackBerry platform, users will have an exceptional mobile communications experience anytime, anywhere.”
“The BlackBerry platform offers unparalleled email and messaging capabilities for mobile customers and we are very pleased to be working with AOL to enable a rich mobile experience on BlackBerry smartphones for the tens of millions of people who use AOL Mail, AIM and ICQ,” said Mark Guibert, Vice President, Corporate Marketing at Research In Motion.
AIM and ICQ for BlackBerry Smartphones
AIM and ICQ users make up one of the largest and most dynamic online and mobile communities with tens of millions of users worldwide and AOL and RIM have been working together to develop native software applications for BlackBerry smartphones that deliver a desktop-like mobile experience for the popular instant messaging services. The free AIM and ICQ applications will allow users to have a rich IM experience that is deeply integrated with their BlackBerry smartphone.
For example, users will be able to send pictures from the BlackBerry smartphone’s camera application to their friends on AIM or ICQ, as well as see AIM or ICQ messages in their regular BlackBerry smartphone inbox. Users will also benefit from tight integration between AIM, ICQ and the BlackBerry Address Book. Users will be able to associate a contact in their IM contact list to the respective contact in their BlackBerry Address Book (and vice versa), which will allow the user to initiate an IM session from within their BlackBerry Address Book and initiate a phone call, email, SMS or MMS from within their AIM or ICQ session.
From their BlackBerry smartphone, AIM and ICQ users can also:
* Access Buddy List features including the ability to see if contacts are online and available to chat (i.e. presence);
* Set customized away messages and manage their AIM or ICQ online status (e.g. available, away, in a meeting, etc.) directly from the BlackBerry smartphone’s home screen without launching the AIM or ICQ application;
* Set alerts to notify them when a contact’s online availability changes;
* Select the Auto Sign-In option which will automatically sign them into AIM or ICQ when their BlackBerry smartphone is powered on;
* Use Picture IM to send and receive images;
* Log and save IM conversations for personal records or to email them to other contacts; and
* Select from a collection of pre-set emoticons to further customize their instant messages.
Once AIM or ICQ has been set up, an icon is automatically installed on the BlackBerry smartphone’s home screen so that access to instant messaging is only a click away. Once launched on the handset, the instant messaging applications can run conveniently in the background, broadcasting the user’s presence to their “buddies” and allowing immediate notification of incoming messages.
AOL Mail for BlackBerry Smartphones
AOL Mail for BlackBerry smartphones leverages the “push” architecture inherent in the BlackBerry platform and AOL’s notification services to automatically deliver AOL Mail messages virtually simultaneously to the user’s online account as well as to the user’s BlackBerry smartphone. The status of messages that have been sent, read, replied to, forwarded or deleted from the smartphone are automatically reflected in the user’s online AOL Mail account. Users can create a dedicated AOL Mail inbox on their BlackBerry smartphone or choose to set up a single inbox on their smartphone to store AOL Mail as well as messages from other IMAP or POP 3 e-mail accounts.
BlackBerry smartphone users with software version 4.5 or higher will also be able to view HTML email, download attachments and edit Microsoft® Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the smartphone.
AOL Mail, AIM and ICQ for BlackBerry smartphones are available now in the U.S. and are expected to become available in other countries around the world over the coming months.