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BlackBerry just got sexier

Tech is a competitive business, and every day deals are done and companies acquired, and we certainly wouldn't dream of telling you about all of them. But every now and then a deal takes place which has the potential to transform things. (Think Google's purchase of Blogger or YouTube.)

If you've been paying any attention at all to the Smartphone Wars, you'll know that the rise of the iPhone and Android phones has had a victim: RIM, makers of the BlackBerry. The city slickers' phone is still going strong, but it's been overtaken by its rivals in market share and is widely seen as a brand that's had its day.

Or is it? RIM just pulled off a coup: they've bought a small company called The Astonishing Tribe. Big deal, you might think. But TAT are bona fide geniuses when it comes to user-interface: the big area BlackBerry has been lacking in recent years. They did much of the initial design work for Android, and also made a big splash on the internet a few months ago when they released this crazy video showing the screen technologies of the future.

Impressive, eh? Don't expect such delights in the next BlackBerry - or in their soon-to-be-released tablet, the PlayBook - but do expect much sexier, easier-to-use BlackBerry software in future. And that's a good thing.

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