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Thursday, August 18, 2011, 04:19 pm PT (07:19 pm ET)

RIM working on its own music streaming service for BlackBerry

Research in Motion is reportedly getting ready to launch its own music streaming service specifically designed for BlackBerry mobile devices.

In an attempt to stay competitive in the mobile business, and considering the clear threat from rival companies such as Apple and Google, RIM is approaching the launch phase of a music streaming service for BlackBerry devices, Reuters claims.

Sources familiar with the matter say that the Canadian company is already “in late-stage negotiations with the major labels,” which include Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music Group and EMI Group.

The upcoming BlackBerry music service is estimated to be unveiled in the U.S. by Labor Day, Sept. 5, although RIM has not confirmed that date yet.

This unnamed BlackBerry service it is expected to help RIM enrich its mobile experience, and specifically the popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service that was also recently updated to allow developers to include its features in other mobile applications.

BBM has various social features such as instant messaging and file transfer support available to BlackBerry mobile device owners that have an active data plan subscription.

While BlackBerry smartphones do not offer direct music purchase capabilities, they currently have access to various music apps such as Slacker, Rhapsody or Pandora. Meanwhile, RIM’s Playbook tablet comes pre-loaded with 7digital's cloud-based music store, streaming 13 million songs. These mobile devices can however be synced with computers to load music tracks and other files.

RIM


RIM’s main competitors, Apple and Google, in addition to Amazon, have already announced plans for offering customers music streaming services, part of their respective cloud initiatives.

Apple a couple of month's ago unveiled plans for iCloud, its cloud computing solution for iOS and OS X devices. When it launches as part of iOS 5.0 this fall, the service will offer features such as “iTunes in the Cloud," which let users download previously purchased iTunes music to all their iOS devices, and "iTunes Match," which offers to place a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version of all a user's other existing music files into the cloud for a $25 annual fee.

For its part, Google launched its own Music Beta in May, a music management solution for Android devices, which it hopes will eventually challenge iTunes. And Amazon’s Cloud Drive is a cloud-based solution that's pit directly against iCloud, offering cloud storage support for music tracks, photos, videos or documents. Amazon is also expected to launch its own mobile devices, smartphones and tablets, running Android OS.

RIM recently launched its first BlackBerry 7 smartphones with several U.S. carriers and plans to eventually transition the handsets to QNX, the mobile OS currently used in the PlayBook tablet.

PlayBook