April 29, 2013

Whither BlackBerry?

Back around the turn of the century the Canadian firm Research In Motion forever changed the way we work. Their BlackBerry device, arguably the world's first true smartphone, allowed for the merging of voice and data, and birthed the mocking nickname "CrackBerry" for the near-fanatical usage by the faithful who were never able to put the device down for fear of missing an email! Companies loved the control they had over devices with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), which was actually the first MDM solution in existence, though completely exclusive to the BlackBerry line.

Since those long-gone days, the smartphone revolution has vaulted the offerings by Apple and Google well beyond the early days of the BlackBerry. Now, the iPhone has come pretty close to the device of choice for both consumers and business types, and the hard charging Android-powered line is nipping at their heels. Even Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 is making some noise. But what of the forgotten BlackBerry?

Last July at the 2013 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, while Microsoft was showing their partners the coolness of the new Windows Phone 8 in Toronto, less than 100 miles away at corporate HQ, RIM was fending off critics that were savaging them for massive delays on their revolutionary new BlackBerry 10 platform. Many thought it was the beginning of the end for the RIM dynasty which in some ways was true. RIM actually dropped their name and took the name of their biggest product, BlackBerry. They also announced that the re-launch of the BlackBerry 10 would be coming late, and the marketplace yawned. As the release date kept getting pushed back first to October, then past the holidays, and finally into the New Year, more and more experts and even Blackberry disciples grew more skeptical that the devices would reemerge at all. Finally, on January 30, 2013 the BlackBerry 10 in all its splendor was revealed. The pioneer in MDM, the BES server, also was revealed as BES 10. Unlike its predecessor, BES 10 is multiplatform so it will also manage your iOS and Android devices in the same console.

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