This, I daresay, will be the biggest news from the BlackBerry World Conference starting up tomorrow – yeah, even bigger than the Bold 9900. RIM has announced that their signature BlackBerry Enterprise Server product will soon be emulated in another product, which will be able to manage iOS and Android devices thanks to a pending acquisition of a company called ubitexx. The new solution will play nice with traditional BES, and include support for Balance, a new feature RIM has launched today which keeps work data on the phone separate from personal. Tablets and smartphones are both supported, and manageable through a web-based console. IT admins will be able to do all of the usual stuff like manage policies, activate devices, roll out apps, and executing remote wipes in case of loss.
Strategically, it’s hard not to see this move as a concession that yes, iPhone and Android are getting popular in the enterprise setting, and in order to stay on top of their game, RIM needs to support the competition. Still, I guess it’s smarter to do that than try to stand their ground, obstinately clinging to the dream that they’re still the king of the castle, and in the process lose relevance. It’s certainly not surprising to see RIM do this, considering they’ve already announced that the PlayBook will be able to run Android apps soon.
Availability for the BlackBerry multi-platform enterprise solution is scheduled for later this year. Full press release after the jump.
RIM Announces Multi-Platform BlackBerry Enterprise Solution for Smartphones and Tablets
Device Management Solution to Provide Security, Management, and Control of BlackBerry Devices, Plus Secure Management for Other Mobile Devices
Waterloo, ON – Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM, TSX: RIM) is announcing today plans for a multi-platform BlackBerry Enterprise Solution for managing and securing mobile devices for enterprises and government organizations. The solution will make available the market-leading management, security and controls of BlackBerry® Enterprise Server and BlackBerry® Enterprise Server Express for BlackBerry® devices plus, through RIM’s pending acquisition of ubitexx (creator of the ubi-Suite device management solution), the solution is expected to incorporate secure device management for Android and iOS based devices and
tablets, all managed from a single web-based console.
“The multi-platform BlackBerry Enterprise Solution is designed to address a growing market and respond to requests from enterprise customers who want a secure multi-platform device management solution from a company that already delivers the gold standard for enterprise mobility,” said Peter Devenyi, Vice President, Communications Platform Group at Research In Motion. “We recognize the opportunity to continue leading in the enterprise market by providing customers with a common platform to help simplify the management of a variety of mobile devices.”
The single web-based console is being designed to provide IT administrators with a simple and efficient way to distribute software and manage policies, inventory, security and services for BlackBerry devices, as well as other mobile devices. IT administrators will be able to manage devices over-the-air, including activating devices, distributing software and applications, locking or wiping devices, enforcing and resetting device passwords, setting IT policies, and managing optional mobile applications for end users. Certain features are expected to remain exclusive to BlackBerry devices because such capabilities are built into the design of a device’s operating system. Examples include RIM’s industry-leading push technology, network and data usage efficiency, behind-the-firewall access to enterprise applications and systems, and many of the over 550 IT policies available through BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The recently-released BlackBerry® Balance™ technology (see separate press release issued today), which supports the use of a single smartphone for both work and personal purposes without compromising the security of corporate content or the privacy of personal content, will also remain exclusive to BlackBerry devices.
Overall, as is largely understood in the enterprise market today, organizations can expect a range of security, manageability and controls depending on different device platform capabilities, with some devices further limited by the design of their operating system.
The multi-platform BlackBerry Enterprise Solution will be comprised of optional architectural components based on the configuration of an organization’s mobile deployment and their operational needs. Optional components will include BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express for BlackBerry devices, and a separate, secure device
management server for Android and iOS devices (based on the foundation of ubi-Suite from ubitexx). It will be possible to deploy multiple components in a virtualized environment on a single server.
Note: Registration for a product preview of the ubitexx solution is open today at www.ubitexx.com/preview.
The multi-platform BlackBerry Enterprise Solution is planned for general availability later this year.