BlackBerry today took another step toward remaining relevant in enterprises that support an increasing mixture of mobile platforms.
By the end of June, BlackBerry will begin offering Secure Work Space for iOS and Android—a solution that enables companies to secure and separate work data from personal data, much like the BlackBerry Balance feature does on smartphones running the company's new BlackBerry 10 platform.
The feature will be managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 and eliminate the need for companies to configure and manage virtual private networks (VPNs).
"With end-to-end enterprise mobility management, a straightforward deployment process, and a global and flexible technical support model, BlackBerry offers a secure and reliable solution as the clear choice for enterprises and governments to support BYOD policies for iOS and Android platforms," BlackBerry said in March 14 statement.
BlackBerry introduced BlackBerry 10 and new Z10 and Q10 smartphones Jan. 30, and with them BlackBerry Balance, which partitions enterprise applications from personal applications. BlackBerry 10 also features what it calls a Hub—an area where one's latest interactions, whether text messages, Tweets or calls, are displayed. While work and personal emails can be displayed side-by-side, BlackBerry says that an administrator can wipe all corporate data from the device—in the instance that an employee leaves the company, say—while leaving the personal data not only intact but invisible to IT.
Today it's more common for IT to simply wipe a device clean, without nuance.
Intel CIO Kim Stevenson, sitting for a Webcast interview March 13, said Intel gives devices a clean swipe, and so many employees carry a personal device as well—an un-ideal scenario in an increasingly bring your own device (BYOD) world.
"We tell them we're going to wipe the phone when they leave ... so some people do carry two phones," Stevenson said. "I carry just one phone, but I don't put personal apps on it."
The BlackBerry Z10 has yet to arrive on any of the leading U.S. networks—though it's currently supported by contract-free carrier Solavei and offered by Solavei partner GSM Nation for $689.
Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile have committed to selling the Z10, though they've not yet shared sales dates, and AT&T will begin selling it March 22 for $199 with a two-year service contract.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has continued to repeat that sales of the Z10 have exceeded expectations. In Canada, the Z10's launch day was the best ever for a new BlackBerry phone, and in the U.K., sales were three times BlackBerry's best-ever performance, and Heins has said that the number of users switching to BlackBerry 10 from Android and iOS has also surpassed the company's hoped-for figures.
On March 13, the company announced the latest coup for the Z10—a single customer order for 1 million BlackBerry 10 handsets.
"An order for 1 million devices is a tremendous vote of confidence in BlackBerry 10," Rick Costanzo, BlackBerry's executive vice president of global sales, said in a March 13 statement. "Consumers are ready for a new user experience, and BlackBerry 10 delivers. ... We have a powerful recipe for success."
BlackBerry plans to announce additional details about Work Space at its BlackBerry Live conference in Orlando, Fla., in May.