Research In Motion (RIM), the company that designs and manufactures BlackBerry smart phones, has purchased Seattle-based contact management firm Gist, both companies announced today.

"We’re excited that the Gist team is joining RIM and bringing their expertise in providing customers with a contextualized, streamlined, and consolidated view of information about their contacts to the BlackBerry platform," said Alan Brenner, senior vice president of the BlackBerry platform, in a blog post.

Gist is a Web-based software tool that gathers a person’s social media and e-mail contacts in one place and aggregates their online content, including blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates, e-mails, links and attachments.

Gist offers iPhone and Android mobile application versions of its tool, a Gist Gadget for Google Apps, and also works with

It "will be interesting to see if RIM will shut the service down in favor of using it exclusively for BlackBerry users. I can imagine that a number of Gist users will be pretty disappointed if this is the case," said TechCrunch writer Leena Rao in a blog post.

The companies did not disclose the deal’s financial terms.

Gahlord Dewald, an Inman News columnist and Internet strategist, in a review of Gist last year, said, "The viewing and sharing of social media content is social-network agnostic. Instead of being focused on the social network you’re logged into, you’re focused on your contact. This is good."

Dewald said today of the announcement, "Gist is a best-in-class personal social (customer relationship management) tool. I certainly get a little nervous about a specific hardware platform owning a CRM tool."

He added that he knows Greg Meyer, the "customer experience manager" at Gist, "to be a capable thinker and maker. I’ll watch what happens to him as the transition occurs."

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