RIM Releases BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0
In Motion rolled out its new BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0, code-named Argon,
at a presentation here Feb. 11.
The server, upgraded from Version 4.1.6, has been running in production mode at RIM for over two years and with early adopter users for over a year. BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 will be generally available starting in the second quarter of 2009. In a demo, RIM showed how the server's Web-based administrative interface could make IT management more rapid and flexible.
RIM also announced new capabilities for BlackBerry users, who will be able to view e-mail attachments and add, move, rename and delete e-mail folders.
The announcement was part of a big week for RIM, which also acquired security software maker Certicom and increased its fourth-quarter sales prediction by 20 percent.
In one much-touted development, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 features over-the-air software loading, meaning that IT administrators can schedule the mobile devices in their enterprise networks to be wirelessly updated with new software as it becomes available.
"The only reason you would ever cable your [individual BlackBerry device] in this version is to charge it," Alan Panezic, vice president of Platform Product Management for RIM, said during the presentation.
After entering a URL to access the Web-based server, the administrator is greeted by a dashboard screen featuring links to commonly accessed areas such as users, groups, policy, software configurations, applications, servers and components.
With the ability to remotely govern privileges for what individual users can do on the server, schedule software updates and other tasks to automatically run at specific times, and deploy and manage enterprise applications over the air, the server presents IT administrators with what RIM officials refer to as "granular control."
As smartphones see increased adoption in the enterprise world and RIM's BlackBerrys face increased competition from Apple's iPhone, Microsoft products and others, TIM is positioning itself through its server and devices to provide that market with end-to-end services.
"The solution is made up of two elements, the individual device and the server, and the two together provide a system to satisfy the needs of IT," David Heit, director of Enterprise Product Management for RIM, said in an interview. "This all comes together on the BlackBerry platform."