Research In Motion (RIM) today announced a series of updates for its market-leading BlackBerry platform that include enhanced messaging and collaboration, simpler management, enhanced security and expanded application development support. These updates will benefit users, IT groups and developers and will enable organizations to increase mobility, productivity and return on investment.
Enhanced Messaging and Collaboration
The BlackBerry Enterprise Solution is a complete, end-to-end wireless platform that extends the benefits of an organization's messaging and collaboration environment to mobile users. Updates to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry device software(1) will enable customers to further enhance usability and increase end-user productivity.
- Document Downloading and Editing - As a result of the integration of the 'Documents To Go by DataViz' software with the BlackBerry platform, users will be able to edit Microsoft Office Word, PowerPoint and Excel files(2) directly on their BlackBerry smartphone.
- Remote Search for Messages - Users will be able to search for and retrieve email messages from their email server even if the message is no longer stored on their BlackBerry smartphone.
- Free-Busy Calendar Lookup - Users on the go will be able to check the availability of colleagues before sending a meeting request.
- HTML and Rich Text Email Rendering - BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to view HTML and rich text email messages with original formatting preserved including font colors and styles, embedded images, hyperlinks, tables, bullets and other formatting.
- Advanced Enterprise Instant Messaging and Presence - New features for users running IBM Lotus Sametime and Microsoft Live Communications Server will include improved address book integration, IM contact "click to call", IM session "convert to call" and advanced emoticon support, allowing co-workers to collaborate and communicate more effectively using their BlackBerry smartphones.
Simpler Management and Support
BlackBerry Enterprise Server provides IT groups with industry-leading management and support capabilities. New features will further improve and simplify the administration of BlackBerry deployments.
- BlackBerry Monitoring Service - A new software component of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server will help organizations maintain high availability and high performance of their BlackBerry infrastructure by providing administrators with enhanced monitoring, alerting, troubleshooting and reporting capabilities. BlackBerry Monitoring Service will be included in the next release of BlackBerry Enterprise Server(3).
- BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager - A web-based device management console has been designed to increase deployment flexibility and simplify software upgrades by reducing the number of BlackBerry software components installed on end-user workstations. BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager enables users to install software and manage their BlackBerry smartphone from any browser-enabled computer. The software is available now as a free download from: www.blackberry.com/go/webdesktop.
- Over-the-Air Device Software Upgrades(4) - Organizations will be able to update a user's BlackBerry device software wirelessly, delivering a fast, cost-effective method for remotely supporting users and managing BlackBerry device software lifecycles.
- Expanded Systems Compatibility - BlackBerry Enterprise Server v4.1.5 is certified with Microsoft Exchange 2007 SP1 and supports IBM Lotus Domino versions 7.03 and 8.0.
Security is a cornerstone of the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution and today there are over 400 IT policy settings and controls that an administrator can set to centrally manage and enforce security policies. Newly introduced IT policies further enhance the security and control of a BlackBerry deployment(5).
- Encrypted Attachment Viewing - Users will be able view attachments within encrypted PGP and S/MIME messages.
- Increased Control over GPS - Administrators will have the ability to control which applications access GPS functionality on BlackBerry smartphones.
- Increased Bluetooth Controls - Administrators will have the ability to enable or disable certain Bluetooth profiles as well as set the allowable 'discoverable time'.
Expanded Application Development Support
RIM continues to expand the opportunities for software developers to create innovative and powerful wireless applications that leverage the inherent security, network efficiency, reliability and push capabilities of the BlackBerry platform and take advantage of new BlackBerry smartphone features. With the recent release of the BlackBerry Java Development Environment (JDE) v4.3.0, new Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have been added to the thousands previously available, enabling developers to offer even more robust and exciting business and lifestyle applications to the more than 12 million BlackBerry subscribers around the world. In addition, support for the following Java Micro Edition APIs is also now available:
- JSR 205: Wireless Messaging 2.0 (MMS Support) - provides the ability to send and receive messages that include images, sound and video via Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).
- JSR 211: Content Handler API (CHAPI) - allows applications to invoke other applications, including native BlackBerry applications, to handle specific content types.
- JSR 238: Internationalization - allows developers to easily create a single application for multiple languages and regions across the globe with proper location-specific language, time conventions, currencies, and number formats.
- JSR 172: Web Services - enables developers to quickly develop and deploy applications that act as web services clients.
These new BlackBerry platform enhancements are scheduled to be phased in to new software releases during the first half of 2008 and will be showcased at Lotusphere this week.
1) Requires BlackBerry Enterprise Server v4.1.5 and BlackBerry device software v4.5 or above.
2) Microsoft Office Word and PowerPoint files will be supported in conjunction with BlackBerry device software v4.5 and Microsoft Excel files will be supported in conjunction with a subsequent software release expected later in the year.
3) Included in BlackBerry Enterprise Server v4.1.5 for Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino, and included in BlackBerry Enterprise Server v4.1.4 for GroupWise.
4) Requires BlackBerry Enterprise Server v4.1.4 and BlackBerry device software v4.5 or above.
5) Requires BlackBerry Enterprise Server v4.1.5 and BlackBerry device software v4.5 or above.