Research In Motion continues to ready its customers and the world for its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 platform. A week ahead of BlackBerry 10's planned Jan. 30 unveiling, RIM made its new Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) product, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, available for download.
In a Jan. 23 statement, RIM said the new service "reinvents BlackBerry EMM" by bringing together device management, security protocols and mobile applications management for BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, including the BlackBerry 10 devices it will show off Jan. 30. The platform also features a single console for managing BlackBerry, iOS and Android-running devices.
In addition to mixed-device environments, it also supports personal- and corporate-owned device deployments as well as BlackBerry Balance, RIM's new technology for separating and securing work content from personal content.
BlackBerry 10 smartphones with BlackBerry Balance will also feature seamless and secure access to content behind corporate firewalls, according to RIM. The new models will offer access to BlackBerry World for Work, RIM's new corporate app storefront that administrations can use to push and install mandatory apps to employees. Management controls for securing and managing work profiles include hierarchical group management, support for customizable administrative roles, employee self-service and the centralized control of assignable profiles.
Select RIM customers have had advanced access to the service.
"The redesigned [user interface] is excellent, providing a smooth experience that enables you to seamlessly switch between applications and content across both the personal and work profiles," said Craig Allcock, head of Networks, Group Technology at the UK-based Co-operative Group, which was one such group with early access, in a statement.
The software is now available for download, and RIM is offering a free 60-day trial that includes device licenses.
In recent weeks, RIM's preparatory efforts have included receiving Visa's approval for a Secure Element Manager (SEM) platform that will enable carriers to support mobile payment services based on near-field communication (NFC) technology, whether on a BlackBerry 10 handset or any other NFC-equipped device. The company has also announced upcoming changes to its service fees and hosted days-long Port-A-Thon parties to pack its apps store in time for the new devices.
An initial Port-A-Thon resulted in 15,000 apps in 37.5 hours, and the second, which included $2 million in incentive prizes, brought in 19,000 more applications.
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless have all said they will back the new phones, and RIM has promised that on Jan. 30 it will show at least one device with a dedicated QWERTY keyboard and one without and will share availability information the same day.
While business-savvy BlackBerry smartphones once led the industry, RIM has had a tough time competing against the consumer-geared Apple iPhone and Android-running devices. With BlackBerry 10 and its new smartphones, RIM has promised a device that does it all, offering the security and business-minded capabilities BlackBerry is know for, the fun consumer experience that users have made clear they want, and an easy method for separating and managing the two.
Highlighting just how close RIM is to showtime, Alec Saunders, RIM's vice president of developer relations, tweeted midday on Jan. 22 that he was attending a "final issues meeting before launch."