BlackBerry 10 home screen

RIM has big ambitions for media on BlackBerry hardware -- really big. Accordingly, it just reached a patent licensing deal with Microsoft that lets it use the exFAT file system on "certain BlackBerry devices." We have a hunch that's a reference to future BlackBerry 10 phones and tablets rather than retrofits of existing (and likely incapable) mobile gear. The move will let any devices that do recognize exFAT handle much larger files, such as long videos, in addition to streamlining transfers between computers and other gadgets. The conditions of the deal haven't been given out, but we suspect RIM's negotiations with Microsoft were on more voluntary terms than those faced by Android supporters.

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Microsoft Signs Licensing Agreement With Research In Motion

exFAT file technology helps mobile industry leader provide cutting-edge capabilities to customers.

REDMOND, Wash. - Sept. 18, 2012 - Microsoft Corp. announced today that Microsoft and Research In Motion (RIM) have signed a patent licensing agreement that gives RIM broad access to the latest Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) for certain BlackBerry devices of RIM. exFAT is a modern file system from Microsoft that facilitates large files for audiovisual media and enables seamless data portability and an easy interchange between desktop PCs and other electronic devices.

exFAT improves on its predecessor, the FAT system, and greatly expands the size of files that flash memory devices can handle by five times over previous FAT technology. It also increases the speed with which those files can be accessed. The exFAT file system not only facilitates large files for use of audiovisual media, it enables seamless data portability and an easy interchange between desktop PCs and a variety of electronic devices.

"Today's smartphones and tablets require the capacity to display richer images and data than traditional cellular phones," said David Kaefer, general manager of Intellectual Property (IP) Licensing at Microsoft. "This agreement with RIM highlights how a modern file system, such as exFAT can help directly address the specific needs of customers in the mobile industry."

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RIM licenses Microsoft's exFAT file system to stuff extra-large files into BlackBerry devices