RIM will soon introduce BlackBerry Balance software, a RIM executive told Reuters. The software offers a secure method of separating personal and professional data.
BlackBerry smartphones and enterprise users were for some time an undisputed duo. But just as Research In
Motion has gradually made inroads into the consumer market, popular consumer
devices such as the Apple iPhone and Google Android
-running smartphones have even more swiftly encroached on RIM's
bread-and-butter market. RIM, however, has a new offering planned that officials believe will help them to better hold onto
their corporate clientele.
In two months' time, RIM plans to introduce a software
called BlackBerry Balance that will enable IT departments to securely separate
a user's business-related e-mail, sent
through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), from the user's personal social
networking information and photographs, Reuters
reported Jan. 23.
Jeff McDowell, RIM's senior vice president for business and
platform marketing, described smartphones as being in the position of hosting
conflicting "use cases": the user's personal life and work life.
"We just wanted to create an innovative solution that
allows enterprises to manage the corporate data side while at the same time
give their employees the freedom to use Facebook and browse the Web and get
their Internet email at the same time," McDowell said in a Jan. 21 interview,
according to Reuters.
McDowell added that the Balance software is currently being
tested by carriers, and that it will also be available for the PlayBook - RIM's
upcoming enterprise-geared iPad competitor,
which in the future will host BES functionality. As with 3G connectivity, which
the PlayBook will feature in cooperation with a BlackBerry handset, a user will
"need to bridge the PlayBook to an existing BlackBerry to access corporate
email, address book and calendar functions," Reuters reported.
In 2008, Nokia had something similar in mind with the launch
of its slim, enterprise-geared E71 smartphone, which includes a button for
switching between a user's personal and business personas, and featured
separate everything, from home screens to inboxes.
Apple's iOS 4 also enables IT mangers to separate and
business content and applications from their personal counterparts, as does
RIM's BlackBerry OS 6, though with finer controls. With BlackBerry Balance, RIM
presumably has something even more fine-tuned in mind.
During its most recent earnings call, Apple - once the
bane of IT executives, who were forced to do battle with unapproved,
employee-owned iPhones that began turning up in offices - underlined quite how
much progress it has made into what was once RIM-only territory.
"Enterprise CIOs continue to add to add the iPhone to their
approved-devices lists," Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said during
Apple's Jan. 18 earnings call,
adding that 88 of the Fortune 100 companies
are now testing or deploying the iPhone, while 80 percent of the Fortune 100
companies are deploying or piloting the iPad - up 65 percent from just the
RIM, during its own most recent earnings call, announced
record sales of BlackBerry
smartphones, despite being engaged in a
strenuous battle against Apple and Android.
"With strong results and momentum from our recent product
introductions, as well as growing excitement from our partners and customers
around upcoming smartphone, tablet, software and services offerings," RIM
Co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in a Dec. 16 statement, "we
are setting the stage for continuing success."