RIM to Launch BlackBerry Enhancements

The company's new software will target BlackBerry devices and wireless servers. 

Research in Motion announced Jan. 22 that it will introduce upgrades in the first half of this year for both BlackBerry devices and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

The upgrades include the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents and the ability to serve and retrieve e-mail even if the message is no longer stored on the device.

Other improvements include the ability to download and view HTML and rich text e-mail messages with original formatting preserved, including font colors and styles, embedded images, hyperlinks, tables, bullets and other formatting.

On the server side, RIM is introducing software that allows administrators to improve current monitoring, alerting, troubleshooting and reporting capabilities. In addition, the company is releasing a new Web-based desktop manager to increase deployment flexibility.

"It's really a mobile extension beyond the firewall," David Heit, RIM's director of enterprise product management, told eWEEK. "It connects the desk with the BlackBerry and gives users the same functionality as the desktop."

The new BlackBerry software will be phased in during the first quarter while the BlackBerry Server 4.15 will be released sometime in the first half of this year. Organizations will be able to update a user's BlackBerry device software wirelessly.

Security enhancements planned include encrypted attachment viewing of PGP and S/MINE messages and increased administrator control over which applications can access GPS functionality on BlackBerry devices. Administrators will also have the ability to enable or disable certain Bluetooth profiles.