Blackberry Unveils New Service to Manage Android, Apple Devices
Smartphone major BlackBerry has launched a new service enabling government agencies and enterprise clients to secure and manage devices powered by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating system.
The new BlackBerry offering may assist the company to sell high-margin services to its large clients even if many, or all, of their workers are using smartphones made by its competitors.
Working with its rivals is a strategic shift for BlackBerry which faces tough competition from Apple, Samsung and Nokia in the enterprise phone space.
Gartner on Monday said BYOD (bring your own device) will push the number of computing devices bought by consumers to grow from 65 percent in 2013 to 72 percent in 2017.
The new Secure Work Space feature will be managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10, a new back-end system launched at the start of this year that allows BlackBerry’s clients to control mobile devices on their internal networks.
“With an integrated management console, our clients can now see all of the devices they have on their network, manage those devices and connect to them securely,” said David Smith, the head of enterprise mobile computing at BlackBerry.
“We now also have a secure work space on Android and iOS that allows our clients to secure and manage the data on those devices as well,” Smith added.
Gartner forecasts that computing devices bought by consumers will grow from 65 percent in 2013 to 72 percent in 2017. This signifies the growing importance of designing for the consumer inside the enterprise. “Apple is currently the more homogeneous presence across all device segments, while 90 percent of Android sales are currently in the mobile phone market and 85 percent of Microsoft sales are in the PC market,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
BlackBerry has installed some 18,000 BES 10 servers since the system was launched in January, up from a little more than 12,000 servers one month ago, and more than 60 percent of U.S. Fortune 500 companies are testing or using the system.
The feature, when used to manage Android and iOS devices, will allow IT managers to fence off corporate email, calendars, contacts, tasks, memos, Web browsing and document editing from personal apps and content, which could be less secure.