Not a pleasant feeling
Seeing news about RIM feels like visiting a grandparent. In the cancer ward.
Beleagured Research in Motion has extended its mobile-device management software, now dubbed BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, to embrace not only its own BlackBerry handsets and tablets, but also iOS and Android devices. "BlackBerry Mobile Fusion allows organizations to manage a mixed environment of devices in the most secure, simple, …
Seeing news about RIM feels like visiting a grandparent. In the cancer ward.
So basically they realised the hole they dug for themselves is far too deep to get out of on their own, and they need a little more appeal.
Don't get me wrong, I like Blackberry's products, it's just that they are trying to be all things to all people, and it's not working. Apple know their market, as do the Android handset makers, and MS is now turning out a proper consumer-focused handset OS that really does work well (It got me off Blackberry after many years, and after I had a HD2, a handset that would put anyone off). Blackberry on the other hand have stumbled along producing too many handsets, most of which don't have an obvious market.
RIM if it has a future needs to sell the software products, and let others make the handsets. If it wants to keep the handsets in-house it needs to scale it's range back to a few handsets aimed a few levels of the corporate market again.
I've said for a few years that RIM will end up being bought out by another company, and I was told to stop being stupid. iPhone was the first nail in the coffin, and they keep getting hammered in.
I agree about the Windows Phone. Somewhat surprised me even, but its quite versatile and really allows you to get stuff /done/. The threads in messaging (SMS) are very clever IMO, e-mail (and combining accounts) works like a charm and well; the browser really does it for me, its very nice to be able and tap a column of text only to have it zoom in so that it fully fills the screen (thus is easier to read).
However, I think RIM does score one point here, especially for business usage.
I /really/ enjoy my phone (and I'm not just saying that mind you; if I want to I can still return & switch it in the upcoming week, but this baby isn't going anywhere (apart from where I'm going ;-)). As an end user its very straight forward and still extensive. As a (junior) developer I also consider it to be very accessible; well documented, SDK can be downloaded free of charge and heck; you can even use C# Express to hack the critter a bit (using the 'Microsoft.Smartdevice.Connectivity' reference; this allows you to access the emulator or phone after which you can do fun stuff with it. For example launching applications based on their GUID).
But as a sysadmin however I have to say that I somehow expected a little more. I really would have liked a little more control over the device, like I have with my Windows 7 box. You know; group policies, user policies, etc. Hardly important or anything to me, but for example; I liked disabling the "Windows Anytime Upgrade" on my Win7 box because it was a good example & practice for me, and I really don't have any desire to go from Professional to Ultimate anyway. So now when I start the program (as common user) I get a message to "contact systems administration" :-)
As such I was expecting a little more like that to be available on the Windows Phone too. For example; suppose I have 2 - 3 co workers, and give 'm all a Windows phone. Then it would be really convenient if I could simply setup a profile for those devices which would then make sure that they'd be setup with the right settings for e-mail or access to the common calendar (either Hotmail or Exchange server). That sort of stuff.
So even though I'm not familiar with Blackberry and RIM I do think that they do score a point here over the Windows phone when it comes to systems administration.
And although I'm quite convinced that all of these tidbits will come eventually I can't help wonder if MS shouldn't have had /something/ setup already.
It doesn't seem to do anything much.
Where is the email, bb messenger integrationist iOS and Android?
Fat lot of good if the only apps it has to manage are ones that are eating RIMs lunch like Good.
Provided that Blackberry for Iphone has overcome this problem http://www.slashgear.com/iphone-password-broken-in-6-minutes-10132627/ which reveals in plaintext, your passwords for your "secure" Exchange to Iphone account, then they have achieved no mean feat. If we can get 3rd party accreditation that RIMs iphone solution is truely secure (as opposed to Apples assertations that they are secure (provided you don't jailbreak the phone) ) then expect Enterprises that have legal security obligations to start using it.
Ah well, I suspect that they've not been able to solve that problem (I may be wrong on that). Also with iOS, WinPhone and Android totally defenceless when jailbroken, it would be asking a lot of RIM to somehow fix that.
The potential for jailbreaking should really scare off corporate use of iOS, Android and WinPhone. But even without jailbreaking Android seems to leak data quite readily. IOS seems not to provide much protection either. Last time I looked MS were positively encouraging jailbreaking! So far as I can tell companies that allow their use are basically saying "we have no data that we'd like to keep private". Doesn't sound good for profits to me.
The prospect of a solid, secure management tool for the proverbial clusterfuck that is the mobile OS version sprawl these days is a holy grail that could save untold man/woman hours for front line IT folks. Too bad about the whole Blackberry Enterprise Server bit though. My experience with it is admittedly a bit dated (don't we all miss the Windows GP/BES monoculture circa 2005), but I remember BES licensing as roughly $2,500(US) + $100/user.
I'd believe it if they had dropped their pricing a bit, but anything in that range is a tough sell for SMB ITs. Maybe that's not their core market now, but a growth market would really help RIM out. Still, this is a promising step in the right direction. If RIM is to survive they need to focus on what they are known for, encrypting and managing mobile devices. One does wonder though if they will be agile enough to get out of the mobile device game in time. A smaller more focused RIM could stick around for a long time, otherwise they risk a fate similar to Nokia. A long purgatory before inevitably being carved up or sold off for IP rights.
BES + cals has been free for the first 75 users for a few years now.
When Gingerbread was released they should have ported their application stack to Android and should have adopted it as the base OS.
Now we'll be talking about the DE-facto enterprise grade Android vendor.
The HTC cha-cha (Horrible name btw) is a thousands times better and three times cheaper than current top of the line Blackberry handsets.
But they lost the plot so long ago it doesn't even matter, I hope htc buys RIM, and then then use RIM's excellent speaker technology to produce an up-to-date cha-cha v3 (the cha-cha-cha)
The whole point about the Blackberry ecosystem is data security. That was achived only through careful design of everything from the hardware though to the OS, services and software. Security does not happen accidently.
If RIM ported to Android then they would not be able to provide any security at all because Android is a terrible platform from that point of view. Even without jailbreaking it leaks data. And once it's jailbroken all bets really are off. Same for iOS and WinPhone. Google and Apple have good PR departments that are veeeeery careful not to admit that. MS were at one point handing out instructions on how to jailbreak WinPhone...
Unfortunately for RIM security = boring. Unfortunately for users excitement (ie iOS, Android) = poor security. And poor security = identity theft, loss of corporate data and potentially corporate failure.
So, what price bling?
At this point I'm thinking that RIM could patent their high-voltage perimeter reason prevention fence, guaranteed to avoid common sense for five years or more. They could license it to Nokia, whose perimeter defense is failing now after only three years.
So they're just going to offer an alternative service to Good then?
Going by the ratings on the Android Market it rapes your phone and the people who are forced to use it resent it. If they can provide a decent alternative then they might stand a chance... but how much of a deadweight will the other parts of the business be?
I think they should have gone the Amazon route, use Android as a base and fork a secure version, as is reportedly already being done.