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UPDATE: What Blackberry Has in Store for U2

Posted by: Alan Cross | Jul 2 2009 11:10AM
Updated: Jul 3 2009 5:20PM



Back in March, I cornered Bono at a meet’n’greet in Boston after the last of those promo tour shows. With the Research in Motion sponsorship of the upcoming world tour just days old, I asked him about the switch in allegiance from Apple to Blackberry. After the U2 iPod, the commercials and the iTunes deals, why bail on Cupertino for Kitchener-Waterloo?

Bono was clear: “Because RIM is going to give us what Apple wouldn’t; access to their labs and their people.”

This was the first time anywhere I had heard such a thing. Did I just get a worldwide scoop? Knowing that I only had about fifteen seconds before he was whisked away, I had to get in a follow-up question.

I blurted the only thing that came to mind: “I can imagine Blackberry creating an app that fans could have on their devices which could then be used when they go to a show on this tour. Maybe some kind of grand social networking thing for U2 fans.”

Bono paused, smiled slyly and said “Something like that.” And then he was gone.

I Facebooked this immediately and eventually, this little scoop took a life of its own when the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business used it as part of a feature story on the RIM-U2 deal. For about ten days, I ended up in newspapers, on music sites and on tech blogs around the world.

And it turns out that my panicked question was more prescient that I could have guessed.

RIM’s people have come up with something called the “U2 Mobile Album.” It’s a Blackberry app that seems to have five sections. First, there’s the entire No Line on the Horizon album. Then there’s a news section about the band, followed by a place that gives updates on the U2:360 tour. There’s a gallery—for fan-posted pictures, presumably. A nice social networking touch, but hardly groundbreaking. Flickr, anyone?

But then there’s a section called “Who’s Listening.” From what I can tell, Blackberry users will load this app before they go to a show. Once there, they’ll be able to access a colour-coded map of that venue which shows your real-time location relative to the band, your friends and everyone else in the stadium running this app.

Although the tour started this week in Spain, doesn’t seem to have been deployed yet. It could be that RIM is waiting for the release of their new world phone called—wait for it—the Blackberry Tour 9630, which is supposed to be available as of July 12.

If you would like a teaser of what this app may have to offer, go here.

UPDATE:


Meanwhile, a TV commercial called “Blackberry Loves U2” has started running. 




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Filed Under: Technology


COMMENTS (3)

Kelly
RE:UPDATE: What Blackberry Has in Store for U2
Jul 3 2009 6:06PM
Wonder if Bono's heard about Blackberry's part in this: http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0430/p09s02-coop.html

John Bing
RE:What Blackberry Has in Store for U2
Jul 3 2009 2:02AM
umm... anyone heard of this band called Nine Inch Nails, and their app? s.

Bork Bork Bork
RE:What Blackberry Has in Store for U2
Jul 2 2009 10:54PM
Explain the use case to me: You can find other people who listen to U2 at the U2 show? That would be everyone, wouldn't it? And your 'real time location relative to the band'? If you can't find U2 at the U2 concert, you're in some pretty lousy seats. Anyways, I don't see much here that couldn't have been done as an iPhone app. It sounds to me like Bono's whole "access to their labs and their people" is his usual grandiose posturing. Bono would have roughly the same importance to an Apple lab as he does to a G8 summit: He'd be there for photo ops, marketing and an ego boost.

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