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Blackberry BBM adds social music cloud

An interface that even riot youths can use has to be good

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RIM is adding a music service option to its Blackberry phones.

What distinguishes this from just-another-cloud service – and there are dozens – is that RIM has its own social network, and the service will be deeply integrated into BBM. And BBM, as many people - not least underprivileged, rioting British youths who might struggle with any UI that was at all difficult to use - is the greatest user interface ever created for a communications device.

The service will offer unlimited playback, and subscribers will be able to keep a cache of 50 songs to carry around and advertise to their mates, swapping 25 a month in and out of the library. Users can grow their allocation by inviting more users. Playlists can be shared or built up from other playlists. The BBM view of the world, which is naturally timeline-based, will include friends' music activity. As you'd expect, songs can be stored for offline use.

RIM says the service, which is provided by Omnifone, will retail for $4.99 when it goes live later this year. Omnifone provides the infrastructure and licensing for Sony's Music Unlimited service. Songs can be shared but physically stay on the server. 7Digital provides the service for RIM's tablets.

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The BBM network has 45 million users. RIM is developing phones based on its QNX OS that will run Android applications, Bloomberg reported this week. ®

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