Research In Motion said on Tuesday it would give out more than 6,000 PlayBook tablet computers to participants at its BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Florida.
Mike Lazaridis, RIM's co-chief executive, made the announcement just after Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer took the stage at the conference to herald a deeper relationship with RIM.
Ballmer said Microsoft's Bing search engine would be the default option for all BlackBerry devices and that its maps would be closely integrated with them.
This is a shrewd move by RIM. It heightens its competitiveness in mapping and search without direct investment, said CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber.
Microsoft is suddenly gaining some considerable traction in mobile as the industry seeks to counter Google's growing dominance, he said.
RIM also showed off the native email and calendar applications it will add to the PlayBook in coming months as well Android apps.
(Editing by Peter Galloway)