BlackBerry, meet China Unicom's RedBerry

In perhaps an unwelcome homage to the BlackBerry, China Unicom has launched its own push e-mail service named RedBerry.

China United Telecommunications Corp. (China Unicom), the country's second-largest mobile operator, has introduced a push e-mail service with a name that closely echoes Research In Motion Ltd.'s (RIM's) popular BlackBerry service.

"China Unicom's RedBerry brand not only incorporates people's familiarity with the BlackBerry brand name, but it also fully embodies the symbolic meanings of China Unicom's new red logo," the company said, describing BlackBerry as the most successful application of push e-mail technology.

RIM is currently in talks with China Unicom's main rival, China Mobile Communications Corp., to launch the BlackBerry service in China. RIM executives were not available to comment on the similarity between the brand names.

China Unicom's new logo resembles a decorative Chinese knot, called a "pan chang," that traditionally symbolizes the bond and connection between people. That meaning has been adapted to symbolize the infinite connection possibilities offered by modern telecommunications networks and the bright prospects and longevity of China Unicom's business, it said.

The RedBerry service allows users to send and receive e-mails containing up to 5,000 words and a 100K-byte attachment, the company said. The standard RedBerry package costs 5 renminbi (US$0.62) per month and includes a mailbox with a 5M-byte capacity. Each e-mail costs 0.30 renminbi to send, while incoming e-mails are free.

There are two other packages available, including the high-end business package, which costs 30 renminbi per month and includes a mailbox with a 200M-byte capacity. This package allows a user to send 100 e-mails per month for free, with each additional e-mail costing 0.10 renminbi to send. Incoming e-mails are free.

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