Stating that some 80 percent of business customers buy wireless devices in retail outlets, RIM Chairman and co-CEO Jim Balsillie said the new provisioning features in BES 4.0 let customers call their IT departments to get activated immediately from the store where they bought the service.
"This takes the manageability down a tremendous amount for the customers," Balsillie said during a speech at RIMs Wireless Enterprise Symposium last week in Chicago.
Some customers agreed. "Im upgrading our [Microsoft Corp.] Exchange e-mail server, and part of that will be upgrading the BlackBerry Enterprise Server," said Nicholas Gass, IT manager at Color Kinetics Inc., a digital lighting company in Boston. "BlackBerry use continues to increase, so the ability to set up users remotely will be a great asset."
BES 4.0 includes security protocols not found in previous versions of the server, namely AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), as well as the ability to protect content stored on the hard drive with local encryption.
BES 4.0 includes an enhanced browser and new phone features such as speed dial, and it has new Java tools that simplify applications development, officials said. BES 4.0 will be available commercially later this year.
Also last week, RIM, of Waterloo, Ontario, and PalmSource Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., announced plans to make BlackBerry source code available to Palm OS licensees through the BlackBerry Connect Program.
Multivendor device support on BES 4.0 is important to carriers. Officials at Sprint PCS Group, of Overland Park, Kan., told eWEEK that they plan to sell BlackBerry products and services by years end but that plans are contingent on BES support for PalmOne Inc.s Treo smart phone.
Balsillie said the list of carriers that sell BlackBerry products will increase from 50 to 75 in the next six months.
At the same time, RIM is gaining third-party support from enterprise software companies. Sendia Corp., based in Santa Monica, Calif., launched itself at the symposium last week and unveiled BlackBerry-compatible wireless SFA (sales force automation) software for Salesforce.com Inc.
Saratoga Systems Inc., of Campbell, Calif., launched iAvenue Wireless, which is software that gives customers access to the iAvenue CRM (customer relationship management) software from BlackBerry devices.