RIM's New BlackBerry Mobile Fusion Could Revive Company's Fortunes

NEWS ANALYSIS: Research in Motion is positioning itself as more than just a device maker by launching new software that securely manages BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices through a service reminiscent of BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

The advent of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion could be the online service that enables Research in Motion to bring in an entire new population of customers while retaining the loyalty of its current users. If it proves highly successful, Mobile Fusion could enable RIM to reverse its plummeting revenue and profit.

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is a mobile device manager that€™s intended to give iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry devices a common, secure, management platform, while also providing secure delivery of email and personal information manager (PIM) data.

Mobile Fusion uses what the company is calling the next version of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), working with Microsoft ActiveSync protocols to deliver management to devices including the BlackBerry PlayBook, iPads, iPhones and Android devices.

This means that non-BlackBerry devices will be able to make use of the secure BES environment, including delivery of email and other information over a secure connection with 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption. This will also allow users to connect securely to popular email services including Gmail and Windows Live. Existing BES users will be able to manage everything from a single console by using BlackBerry Studio to integrate the two systems.

€œWe are not just a device company,€ said Pete Devenyi, RIM vice president of enterprise software. €œWe are also a mobile device management [MDM] company. Ninety percent of the Fortune 500 are relying on BES every day.€ With the rapid expansion of the bring-your-own-device trend in the corporate marketplace, it was time to be realistic about how RIM supported its customers.

€œFor over a decade now, RIM has established itself as being the best [in] mobile device management with the BES,€ Devenyi said. €œIt remains critical for us to remain firmly entrenched as the leading MDM [provider] in this space; we are committed to driving that business forward.€ Devenyi said that the need for a product like Mobile Fusion is tremendous.

€œWhat€™s very important to recognize is that we are the de facto standard in mobile device management. We€™ve only done it for BlackBerry devices in the past. Mobile fusion expands a great number of the benefits of BES across devices.€

Devenyi said that Mobile Fusion is intended specifically to support a market where there are both corporate owned devices and BYOD devices. He said that the new MDM will work with BlackBerry Balance, a technology that allows BlackBerry devices to have two partitions within the device, one containing personal data and apps, and the other for corporate data and apps. He said that BlackBerry Fusion will allow corporate management of the appropriate part of the device, and leave the personal information alone.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...