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RIM goes for consumers with BlackBerry BBM music service

Can the Blackberry maker reverse the decline that has seen it overtaken by Apple in the smartphone market?

BlackBerry maker RIM has launched two new software products aimed at increasing Blackberry’s presence in the consumer market.

The first, is BBM Music, a cloud-based social music service that lets users share their music collections with friends and discover new music via a shared library.

You can build up your own library by choosing from “millions” of tracks in the catalogue, share tracks and playlists via BBM, and follow your friends’ listening activity. The service will cost $4.99 (around £3) a month and is expected to launch later this year.

At the same time, RIM announced a software developers’ kit (SDK) for the PlayBook, which is designed to make it easier for game developers to design 3D games by giving them access to low-level system functions. It adds support for the OpenGL ES 2.0 API, a standard set of libraries that make it easier and quicker to design games.

With sales of BlackBerry phones falling, RIM is looking to make the Playbook and its QNX-based operating system the core of its future product plans.

RIM plans to sell phones based on the same software as its PlayBook tablet next year, with a software “player” that will let users run Android apps.

It’s already released an update to its tablet OS that improves the speed of the Blackberry Bridge application, which lets users read their BlackBerry phone’s email on the Playbook. It’s a smart move, seeing as the tablet still lacks a native email application.

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