The jury is still out on whether BlackBerry can regain its once dominant position among business users and IT administrators. If the company can't, it won't be for lack of effort.
BlackBerry has attempted to reinvent itself this year, ditching its old name (Research in Motion) and releasing new devices with a new operating system. Recognizing the popularity of Android and iOS in the enterprise, the company also added multi-platform support to its mobile device management product, BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES).
BES and the BlackBerry 10 operating system will be front and center at the BlackBerry Live 2013 conference, taking place May 14-16 in Orlando. Check back here often for complete coverage from the show, plus additional resources for IT administrators considering BlackBerry's role in the new mobile enterprise.
Table of contents:
News and updates from BlackBerry Live 2013
Made for each other: BB10 OS and new BlackBerry devices For its new line of devices, BlackBerry put its hardware and software designers together to create devices and operating systems that work with one another, creating a horizontal flow that doesn't rely on a home screen. BlackBerry wanted the devices to have a "pure touch" experience, which gave them the opportunity to reclaim the space where the navigation keys would have been. And BlackBerry learned from how people use their devices. BlackBerry users tend to spend a lot of time in their inboxes, and these new devices make it easier to use other apps without lots of navigation and menus.
BlackBerry Secure Work Space brings dual personas to iOS, Android IT administrators don't want to have to use various different systems to manage users' devices, so upgrading to BES 10 might be worth it for existing BlackBerry customers. One of the features in BES 10 is Secure Work Space, which brings secure containers to iOS and Android devices. Balance doesn't create a rigid separation between work and personal containers on a device -- users can access the personal side of their devices from the corporate side -- but Secure Work Space does.
Customers want more info before deciding on BES 10 upgrades BlackBerry offers an upgrade path from BES 5 to BES 10, but customers still want more details about how the company will help with their mobility efforts. For businesses to make the switch to BES 10, they need to know that the upgrade process will be smooth and that BES 10 will be better than what other vendors offer. BlackBerry did say that throughout 2013, businesses will be able to upgrade to BES 10 for free. And they'll be able to run BES 10 and BES 7 on the same server, and then decommission BES 7 when they're ready.
BlackBerry customers look to the future with cautious optimism Shops considering an upgrade to BB10 are cautiously optimistic about BlackBerry's future, but whether or not companies will carry out a BB10 deployment depends on what BlackBerry delivers in the coming year. Customers are waiting to see how users accept the Z10 and Q10 smartphones, whether the transition from BES 7 to BES 10 will go smoothly and how robust BlackBerry's iOS and Android management capabilities will be.
Additional BlackBerry resources
Breaking down BlackBerry 10 and BES
BlackBerry's new operating system and management platform have a lot of new features, and it can be hard to keep track of them all. This quick breakdown explains what BlackBerry Hub is, how many BB10 apps are available and how BlackBerry Enterprise Service takes advantage of dual-persona technology.
BlackBerry 10's consumer/enterprise balancing act
When it comes to buying mobile devices consumers, not businesses, are today's decision makers. When the iPhone and Android devices started winning consumers away, BlackBerry's fortunes tumbled. With BlackBerry 10, the company is trying to appeal to those customers while maintaining its enterprise-friendly reputation.
BES 10 multi-OS support attempts to entice consumers
BlackBerry's lack of innovation has disenchanted many business customers over the past few years, but most have held on to their BlackBerry Enterprise Servers. If that is to continue, the new version -- BlackBerry Enterprise Service -- and its support for iOS and Android management will be the reason why. The company must also churn out more consumer-friendly devices.
How to get started with BES 10
Managing BlackBerry 10 devices is quite different from what you may be used to with earlier versions. Email delivery now relies on Exchange ActiveSync, instead of direct Exchange server integration, and BlackBerry Balance adds mobile application management to the equation. Plus, there are new ways to install and license the product.
it’s too late for BlackBerry
Even though BlackBerry has finally released its new operating system, new smartphones and new BlackBerry Enterprise Service, it all comes too late to save the company from failure.