Research In Motion plans to release a version of BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac users, desktop software that syncs Apple computers with BlackBerry devices, on Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. EDT.
Once released, the application will be available on this site. "BlackBerry Desktop Manager software is designed to run on Mac computers with Mac OS 10.5.5 and higher and supports BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry OS 4.2 and higher," RIM said in a news release Sept. 30.
The BlackBerry Desktop Manager version for Macs will allow users to sync data between their BlackBerrys and Mac applications such as iCal, Address Book and Microsoft Entourage. It will also allow users to add and remove programs, encrypt files, install software updates on their mobile devices and schedule automatic backups.
In addition, the application integrates BlackBerry Media Sync, allowing users to port their iTunes music collections to their BlackBerrys by selecting the desired playlists and songs.
Previously, BlackBerry users had to rely on PocketMac for BlackBerry, which offered synchronization with iTunes, Mail.app, Contacts and Entourage. The new offering may be seen as a more robust application, although RIM offered free support for PocketMac for BlackBerry when it was Mac owners' only alternative.
Inside BlackBerry, the official BlackBerry blog, has been trumpeting the upcoming Mac support since July.
Although BlackBerry Desktop Manager closely integrates BlackBerry smartphones with Macs, RIM and Apple are definitely competing for a share of the mobile-device space. Apple recently announced that customers have downloaded more than 2 billion Apps from the App Store since its opening in July 2008, a number that puts it well ahead of RIM's BlackBerry App World. Microsoft, Google, Nokia and Palm have also been formulating plans for catching up to Apple, which now boasts an ecosystem of 85,000 Apps.
Despite the BlackBerry's reputation as an enterprise-oriented device, RIM has been making strategic moves to meet an increasing consumer demand for smartphones. During a June earnings call, co-CEO Jim Balsillie claimed that his company's customer base is now evenly split between consumer and business clients; during the first quarter of fiscal year 2010, about 80 percent of the company's new customers were consumers as opposed to enterprise or small and midsize business clients.
In that spirit, some of BlackBerry's newest offerings have veered away from purely business functions. On Sept. 30, a Tivo application for BlackBerry made its debut, allowing users to program their digital video recorders directly from their smartphones. The Tivo DVR Scheduler mimics the Tivo DVR interface.