REVIEW: Cisco delivers a solid and familiar mobile WebEx experience to BlackBerry users.
Cisco's WebEx for BlackBerry is a welcome addition for the
mainstay of enterprise mobile devices, allowing BlackBerry users to easily join
or host collaborations sessions to view presentations shared by other
While Cisco has been actively developing interesting new
applications for the iPhone, delivering WebEx, SIO To Go
, and the M-Learning
for Apple devices within the last year, they've to date been full
of only vague promises about when they would deliver similar applications for
the BlackBerry, even though Cisco's core audience is more likely to have a
BlackBerry in their pocket (at least in North America). Hopefully, the arrival of the WebEx for
BlackBerry signals an end to that trend.
WebEx for BlackBerry is available as a free download from
BlackBerry App World or from http://www.webex.com/blackberry
. While the download and installation worked
fine from App World, I was not able to successfully install the application
from the Web page using either the native browser on my Bold 9700 or Opera Mini.
WebEx for BlackBerry should work on any BlackBerry handheld
running OS version 4.6 or higher.
On the BlackBerry, the WebEx feature set is comparable to
that delivered for the iPhone. I found that
I could either host a meeting or join one scheduled by someone else. As is the case with the iPhone, as a host on
the BlackBerry, I found myself unable to actually schedule a conference from
Also like with the iPhone iteration, I was not able to share
documents, presentations or my screen with other conference attendees. However, I was able to hand off presentation control
to another user in the meeting who was using a PC. The transfer of share authority can be
completed by switching to the attendee view, highlighting a user with the PC
icon next to the name, and toggling the BlackBerry menu button to select "Make
Presenter." Although the handoff worked
seamlessly, the process isn't as slick as with the iPhone, which asks the user
to simply touch-drag the WebEx logo from one user to another.
Using the BlackBerry application, I was able to easily view
documents, applications and desktop shared by another user presenting from a
PC. I was not able to view video content
presented out of Windows Media Player (nor was I able to view that on the
From the BlackBerry application's context menu, I could also
access a small number of controls that allowed me to zoom in and out of someone
else's presentation, to see conference details (including the access code), and
to see the list of attendees. Most of these
functions are also accessible by depressing the correct hotkey shortcut.
Joining a conference was easy - I could join by clicking on
the link in an invitation which automatically started the application.
WebEx for BlackBerry doesn't currently support Voice over IP
to join the audio portion of the conference, but the application will automatically
try to join the call using the device's cell phone. Because BlackBerrys support multitasking,
the process of joining the call was a little more seamless than with the iPhone
During one of my test meetings using the BlackBerry, I
received an "Uncaught exception" error message while trying to join the audio
conference. While the call completed successfully
and remote parties could hear me talking, I could only hear a continuous beep
that sounded as if someone was constantly depressing the dial pad. The beep didn't stop until I hung up the call
and exited WebEx completely.
WebEx for BlackBerry users can also easily chat with other
session attendees, either as a broadcast to the group or individually.