Mergers & acquisitions

RIM Acquires TAT

1:00 PM -- BlackBerry announced today via blog post that it has acquired user interface designer The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) to improve the BlackBerry PlayBook and other smartphones. (See RIM Shows Off PlayBook Tablet.)

RIM didn't reveal terms of the deal or how much it paid for TAT. [Ed. note: We assume a tit for TAT would've been fair.] TAT is also a member of Android's Open Handset Alliance and is responsible for the UI on T-Mobile US Inc. 's G1.

I've seen TAT demoed in the past and am impressed with their innovation around augmented reality, 3D, gesture navigation, and personalization -- all features that will be important to handsets going forward.

TAT's expertise will be especially important to RIM, which has been criticized on the UI front for being bulky and hard to navigate. Combining its TAT acquisition with QNX, the software used in the Playbook, will be an important strategic move for both.

Check out the video below to see TAT UIs in action:

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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