RIM Banking On Closing Smartphone Gap With BlackBerry Mobile Fusion

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“BlackBerry Mobile Fusion brings together our industry-leading BlackBerry Enterprise Server technology for BlackBerry devices with mobile device management capabilities for iOS and Android devices, all managed from one web-based console. It provides the necessary management capabilities to allow IT departments to confidently oversee the use of both company-owned and employee-owned mobile devices within their organizations.”

This was the triumphant message Alan Panezic, Vice President, Enterprise Product Management and Marketing at Research In Motion relayed to the media on announcing the introduction of RIM’s BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, the Company’s “next-generation enterprise mobility solution and RIM’s entry into the multi-platform Mobile Device Management (MDM) marketplace”.

In the crowded market place that is the smartphone market, RIM have done a very smart thing by opting to hedge their device market with a cross-platform product that helps them get a foothold in the wider smartphone market. The press release continues to say that the mobile device management system will be able to support mobile devices that run on the BlackBerry®, Google® Android® and Apple® iOS® operating systems.

BlackBerry mobile devices have taken a severe beating in the recent past owing to the phenomenal success of the iPhone and iPad and the introduction of high-end business-ready Android smartphones from Motorola, Samsung and HTC. The BlackBerry Playbook tablet did especially dismally only managing to sell half a million units in its first three months and that figure fell to just over 200K units, a factor that forced BlackBerry to slash the price of its flagship tablet PC to $199, a price that is much lower than that of either the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Apple iPad2.

RIM are however confident that they have come up with a strategy that will revive their lost shine in the smartphone world. In as much as RIM note that over 90% of Fortune 500 companies use BlackBerry devices and enterprise services, an increasing number of employees are opting for other-manufacturer devices that make it difficult for their organizations to implement MDM deployments. This difficulty is compounded by the multi-use features of many smartphones today where users toggle between using the phone for business and work to personal leisure activities like streaming videos.

The new BlackBerry Mobile Fusion MDM has been designed to seamlessly action these issues through a number of smart features. Aside from the multi-platform device management, the platform will also have a feature that allows users to engage in non-work related activities on their devices outside of their virtual work environment and this will be achieved through a toggle feature that allows the user to check in and check out of their corporate work environment.

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Other important features of the BlackBerry Mobile Fusion MDM will be:

  • the ability to manage devices, users, groups and policies from a single place
  • management and securing of BlackBerry Playbooks
  • management of required and optional work applications
  • support for BlackBerry Balance, etc.
The launch of the BlackBerry Mobile Fusion MDM comes as a much-needed shot in the arm for RIM who have been blamed for not recognizing the changing times and the need to build and implement platform based Service Oriented Architecture, something they seem to have realized and through which they are now making solid moves towards solidifying their position in the smart mobile device market.