BlackBerry EZ Pass is now available. The service is touted as a simple way for companies running BES 5, or any mobile device management solution that competes with BlackBerry, to transition to BES10—and with it have a single console for managing BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices.
There’s no cost to switch, and companies that trade in their licenses for BES10 licenses (the trade-in is one-for-one, and users will receive Silver-level licenses) will receive BlackBerry’s Technical Support Services—the “best technical support in the world,” BlackBerry said in a March 31 statement—for free until Jan. 31, 2015.
Additionally, those in the EZ Pass program will be guaranteed a free upgrade to BES12 when it’s released later this year.
BlackBerry introduced EZ Pass and BES12 at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in February.
With BES12, BlackBerry will offer five core capabilities: backward compatibility to BES10 and BES 5, as well as “future proofing”; support for multiplatform solutions, which will soon include Windows Phone, as well as iOS and Android; advanced service management with automated problem resolution; support for hybrid- and all-cloud solutions (both public and private); and tools that make it easy to develop and deploy applications to the various mobile platforms a company supports.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen told analysts during the company’s March 28 earnings call that global response to the February announcement has been strong.
“We actually had over a hundred thousand hits to our landing site … from the interested parties … and nearly 1,900 registrations for more information,” said Chen.
“We’ve seen customers around the world affirming commitments to our BES,” Chen added. “We had wins in the U.S., Germany, the U.K., India, Australia and Latin America in the last quarter.” Among them were Daimler, Airbus Group, the Australia National Audit Office and Itau Unibanco.
BlackBerry announced an earnings loss of $423 million during its most recent quarter, but this was a dramatic improvement over the $4.4 billion loss the quarter before.
Chen said he is focused on making BlackBerry’s handset business profitable, growing the company, expanding into nontraditional channels and leveraging BlackBerry’s “full portfolio of end-to-end mobile solutions and connected cloud solutions.” BlackBerry also intends to take a vertical-focused approach.
In March, BlackBerry made two announcements aimed at businesses in regulated industries—industries, says Chen, that “value the BlackBerry strength.” Its Secure Work Space for iOS and Android received Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 certification, and BlackBerry 10 became the first mobility solution to receive Full Operational Capability to run on Department of Defense networks.
During the earnings call, Chen said according to one analysis firm that BlackBerry has a 60 percent share of the MDM market.
“Furthermore, we found out that in our competitors’ install base, in over half of those, their needs are not being addressed—this is from their own survey,” Chen continued. “So, this represents a great opportunity for BlackBerry to strengthen our position and market share with [BES12].”