Android and iOS are undoubtedly today's most popular smartphone and tablet platforms. Not wanting to be left behind in the game, RIM -- creators of BlackBerry devices and enterprise server systems -- is introducing Mobile Fusion, which can help IT departments manage their mobile deployments, regardless of platform.
Can't Beat 'Em? Join 'Em!
RIM seems to believe in the saying if you can't beat them, join them. The Ontario-based developer of the BlackBerry platform recognizes the need to tap into the huge market for Android and iOS devices, which include the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android smartphones and Honeycomb-based tablets. The company is launching Mobile Fusion, device-management software that lets corporate IT departments better manage passwords, apps, software and contact lists on multiple platforms.
The software also lets IT departments remotely wipe a smartphone or tablet in the event of theft or loss. The system will reside alongside the BlackBerry Exchange Server (BES), which will help minimize migration into other platforms. RIM vice president for enterprise product management, Alan Panezic, says the company wants to be the de facto platform for enterprise mobile services, regardless of the actual mobile devices that customers are using.
What our enterprise customers are looking for, and the opportunity for us, is to become the de facto platform ... We will take full advantage of whatever security capabilities are provided by the core operating system. We're not going to hold that back in any way, shape or form."
Aside from Android and iOS devices, RIM says its new server will also manage RIM's own BlackBerry PlayBook independently of an attached BlackBerry smartphone. While the tablet's messaging and Internet services had been largely dependent on being connected to a BlackBerry smartphone, the company plans to push a software upgrade in February that will give the PlayBook native email capabilities.
A Change in User Preference
RIM's BlackBerry used to be the platform of choice for enterprise clients, particularly due to the tight integration between server-side software and device for messaging, collaboration and management. But businesses are increasingly allowing employees to bring their own devices, sometimes even subsidizing the cost of notebooks, tablets and smartphones. As such, employees have adopted iPhones, Android phones and similar devices. This has become a source of headaches for IT departments, which require tools for managing and auditing information on smartphones and tablets.
Mobile Fusion will be released in the first quarter of 2012. Pricing is yet to be announced.