Blackberry launches accessory for easy music streaming

Posted by Kate Taylor

RIM's launched a rather nifty little gadget at the BlackBerry World Conference: the BlackBerry Music Gateway.

The tiny device streams music to a home or car stereo over Bluetooth, while allowing remote control from 30 feet away via Near Field Communication (NFC) - similar in principle ot the company's now-discontinued Remote Stereo Gateway.

"Getting music on your BlackBerry has never been easier," says the company.

"Customers can sync their personal music library, purchase albums and songs from the BlackBerry Music Store or stream music from the numerous BlackBerry App World music apps such as BBM Music, Pandora or Slacker, for a rich multimedia experience."

The device hooks into a hi-fi via a wired RCA or 3.5mm cable stereo connection, but then links to a Blackberry or other Bluetooth device wirelessly.

Setting it up with an RIM phone or tablet couldn't be simpler, using NFC: just tapping the phone against the device transfers all configuration data instantly. But Android users needn't miss out, thanks to the Bluetooth support.

The phone can be used as the remote for complete control of playback, track changes, and volume, and it can carry out other tasks, such as surfing the web, at the same time: music automatically pauses when an incoming phone call is received and continues when it ends 'without skipping a beat', says RIM.

Expected to ship in June, the BlackBerry Music Gateway will cost $49.99.

With no new phones expected from the company until later this year, it needs to do something at the conference to drum up a bit of market enthusiasm. Depending on who you ask, its market share is around 10 percent or so, and has been steadily falling in the face of competition from Android.

A peek at the new Blackberry 10 operating system, widely expected in the next couple of days, could help.