Microsoft and RIM are partnering to port Office 365 cloud functionality onto RIM devices such as the PlayBook and BlackBerry. RIM is also unveiling new cloud services.
Motion is planning to partner with Microsoft on the latter's cloud offerings,
which will be integrated into BlackBerry devices as well as the upcoming
always been core to our business," Alec Taylor, vice president of Software,
Services and Enterprise Marketing for RIM, told analysts and reporters
listening to a March 17 presentation. "It's how we do real-time push; it's how
we developed our world-class security, our integration with carrier systems."
its reach into the cloud, though, RIM is apparently planning a troika of
services to roll out later in 2011. These include BlackBerry Protect, a
cloud-based solution to secure and protect smartphones and their content,
BlackBerry Management Center, a cloud-based management system aimed at small
and midsize businesses, and Blackberry Enterprise Service for larger companies
seeking to move into the cloud.
argue that businesses can accrue substantial savings by porting their data center
needs to an off-site host.
"are driving more toward a consumption model for their technology," Taylor
said. In that spirit, BlackBerry Enterprise Service "is all about taking
advantage of the opportunity to manage BlackBerries from the cloud." Services
available will apparently be similar to those already present in BlackBerry
Enterprise Server Express.
with Microsoft centers on RIM providing cloud-based BlackBerry service in
support of Office 365, whose subscription-based model allows organizations to
stay up-to-date with the latest versions of Microsoft Office, SharePoint
Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Servers
will apparently connect "cloud to cloud" with Microsoft's data centers to host
Office 365 data on users' BlackBerries.
PlayBook tablet will be able to port and display Office 365 data from any
user's BlackBerry, via a tethering service called BlackBerry Bridge. RIM
executives remain tight-lipped about the PlayBook's general release date,
although some online sources suspect it will be sometime in April.
In theory, BlackBerry Bridge helps users keep corporate data secure.
Removing one's BlackBerry from tethering range will "disappear" the PlayBook
applications related to messaging and other security-sensitive features. Users
can also set expiration dates for the PlayBook's cached data, and enforce more
stringent password policies. Tethering allows BlackBerry's encryption key to
reside solely on the smartphone.
relies on a proprietary operating system based on software acquired during
RIM's takeover of QNX Software Systems from Harman International in April 2010.
It emphasizes multitasking, with the ability to swipe your finger along the
sides of the screen to cycle through applications; "flicking" one of the
applications' thumbnail images will close it down. During a handful of meetings
with eWEEK throughout January, RIM executives suggested they were still
tweaking the tablet's software for better battery life, while insisting that
the device would eventually provide "a full day's work" on a single charge.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.