At PC Expo in New York this week, Research In Motion Limited (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSE: RIM) is set to raise the bar again for wireless enterprise solutions. RIM will showcase the latest hardware, software and services available for the BlackBerry(tm) platform and outline plans for taking enterprise customers to the next level in wireless. RIM is demonstrating BlackBerry at booth #3734 and RIM's Chairman and Co-CEO will also take the main stage with a keynote address.
RIM pioneered the market for enterprise wireless email in 1999 and has propelled adoption and innovation since that time. With over 14,000 organizations already using BlackBerry, RIM is now delivering the next generation of wireless enterprise solutions with converged voice and data services. RIM has maintained its industry leadership with the only complete 2.5G wireless enterprise solution ready to address the needs of both users and IT departments; and RIM plans to roll out additional products in the coming months that will strengthen its position in the 2.5G market.
"The deployment of 2.5G technologies together with widely accepted standards for application development and enterprise connectivity represent important milestones for the wireless industry. Future 3G technologies will certainly provide evolutionary benefits, but we already have the necessary device, platform and network standards in place to revolutionize enterprise information systems with wide-area wireless connectivity," said Jim Balsillie, Chairman and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. "RIM's BlackBerry solution has earned its reputation for innovation and value over the last several years; and our BlackBerry roadmap includes many new devices, features, applications, designs, tools and services that will continue that leadership moving forward."
RIM continues to build upon the extensible BlackBerry solution in a variety of areas including new handhelds, network standards, enterprise software, international expansion and partnerships. Upcoming plans and directions include:
New BlackBerry Handheld For GSM/GPRS Networks: RIM plans to continue expanding its GSM/GPRS offering with new handheld choices including a world band version. The world band handheld will support wireless data and voice services operating on GSM/GPRS networks in both North America (1900 MHz frequency) and Europe/Asia Pacific (900 MHz frequency). Other new features will include an integrated speaker/microphone and removable/rechargeable battery. The world band BlackBerry handheld is currently expected to be available in the Fall.
New BlackBerry Handheld For iDEN Network: RIM is developing a new BlackBerry Wireless Handheld that will operate on an iDEN network in the United States. The new handheld will feature the popular BlackBerry wireless email solution with digital cellular, digital two-way radio service, text and numeric paging and browser and will include an integrated speaker/microphone, removable/rechargeable battery and external antenna. Based on J2ME, the new handheld will have the ability to run a variety of business applications targeted to key vertical segments such as construction, financial and manufacturing. This new BlackBerry handheld is currently expected to be available later this year.
New BlackBerry Handheld For CDMA/1xRTT Networks: RIM also continues its development of Java powered BlackBerry handhelds for CDMA/1xRTT networks. The handhelds will offer both data and voice support (including email, phone, SMS, browser and organizer applications), integrated speaker/microphone and removable/rechargeable battery. The CDMA/1xRTT standard enables the evolution from low-speed, circuit switched networks to high-speed packet data. BlackBerry for CDMA/1xRTT networks is currently expected to be available later this year.
Multi-Network Support: BlackBerry Enterprise Server will support multiple wireless network standards (including Mobitex, DataTAC, GSM/GPRS, iDEN and CDMA/1xRTT) allowing customers to support mixed environments and enabling current customers to support new BlackBerry handhelds without changing their back-end infrastructure.
Advanced Management Features For IT Departments: Incorporating feedback from customers that have deployed wireless enterprise solutions broadly, RIM is adding additional features to help IT departments manage their BlackBerry deployments more effectively. First, IT administrators will have the ability to push software to their users' PCs and set policies to require users to quickly update their handheld software. Second, new security features will enable IT departments to wirelessly disable and erase all data on a BlackBerry handheld and remotely set or change the handheld's password. Third, IT administrators will be able to implement and wirelessly push group policies to BlackBerry users without the need for users to cradle their handhelds. This feature will provide a secure and robust method of maintaining and enforcing policies throughout the company and will enable IT managers to easily invoke policies after handhelds have been deployed in the field. These new features are currently expected to be supported in BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Microsoft(r) Exchange in the Fall and BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Lotus(r) Domino(tm) in the Winter.
Mobile Data Service: The new Mobile Data Service feature of BlackBerry Enterprise Server will enable always-on / push-based access to enterprise applications and information using the BlackBerry handheld, browser and software development tools. By leveraging the existing architecture and security model of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (including end-to-end encryption), corporations will be able to rapidly and securely deploy additional wireless applications beyond email to BlackBerry handhelds. By leveraging the BlackBerry infrastructure, which supports multiple networks using standard protocols and languages (including XML, HTTP and Java), corporate application developers and ISVs can quickly deploy wireless applications without learning new middleware or operating systems. The Mobile Data Services feature is currently expected to be available in tandem with the advanced management features described above.
BlackBerry Web Client: In addition to support for Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino, RIM recently developed a new web-based application called BlackBerry Web Client. BlackBerry Web Client will allow users to access multiple existing email accounts (including ISP accounts) from a single BlackBerry handheld through the POP3 protocol and/or mail forwarding. In addition, a default web mail account is provided with each handheld. BlackBerry Web Client will appeal to customers that do not currently use Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino or wish to access a personal email account in addition to their enterprise email account. IT departments running BlackBerry Enterprise Server will retain the ability to centrally control and implement policies on handhelds that prevent access to personal ISP accounts. Several carriers are testing BlackBerry Web Client, which is currently expected to be available to customers later in the year.
International Expansion: Through support for global technology standards, RIM can deliver the BlackBerry solution to new countries around the world with a common user experience and a consistent degree of quality. BlackBerry is currently available in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Hong Kong with additional plans recently announced for Australia, Macau and Mainland China.
Additional Features: In addition to supporting multiple network standards, international expansion, enhanced manageability and additional integration options, RIM continues to invest in the development of a wide range of hardware and software features to enhance the mobile experience. Some of the new features under development and currently planned for the upcoming year include tri-band support (900/1800/1900 MHz frequencies), color screens, corporate voicemail integration and additional wireless synchronization features (including message filing/deleting and address book/tasks/memo synchronization; wireless calendar synchronization is already available).
BlackBerry Alliances: RIM continues to build strong alliances with leading IT suppliers such as Microsoft, IBM (Lotus), Sun Microsystems, BEA, Computer Associates, NetIQ, Compaq, HP, Xerox, Siebel and SAP to develop and deliver a broad range of wireless enterprise solutions. RIM also partners with ISV's and system integrators to develop vertical focused applications for industries such as legal, financial, construction and healthcare. In addition, RIM has created its reference design program in order to provide device manufacturers with the technology and tools needed to easily develop and deliver devices based on embedded BlackBerry and Java technologies.