Speaking of EAS, BlackBerry OS 10 supports it as well. Businesses that don't need the full-on security traditionally afforded by the BlackBerry can still adopt BlackBerry 10 devices and apply basic management for them, as well as their iOS and Android devices. The previous BlackBerry OSes required BES, with no option for "lite" management. If BlackBerry OS 10 does power RIM's comeback, I'm sure we'll see mobile device management (MDM) vendors add BlackBerry 10 to the mix, supporting not just the various devices' EAS capabilities but the higher-security APIs that Apple's iOS has offered since summer 2010 and both Motorola Mobility and Samsung offer in their recent Android devices.
BlackBerry OS 10 devices, like the PlayBook tablet, also support RIM's Balance technology, which essentially lets you run two personas on a BlackBerry device simultaneously: one for personal apps and data, and one for business apps and data, addressing a frustration many IT shops face when supporting user devices that access corporate networks and data. Although some companies say they are working on a similar dual-persona scheme for Android, should Balance work effectively for both IT and users, the BlackBerry could gain traction fast.
Of course, it's very hard for any company that has fallen as far as RIM to recover. Apple did it in the early 2000s, but that's the only example I can recall. One leading mobile analyst, Ovum's Jan Dawson, doesn't see BlackBerry 10 rescuing RIM for the long term: "Though the new platform should have significant appeal to existing users, we don’t expect it to win significant numbers of converts from other platforms. There is little in the new platform that suggests it will have the compelling apps, content stores, or the broader ecosystem that consumers have come to expect in a competitive smartphone platform."
Dawson's a smart guy, and I suspect he's right. Although I've been a harsh critic of RIM's ancien regime's destruction through willful blindness of the BlackBerry, I personally hope that BlackBerry OS 10 and the devices running it are a hit. Although I currently prefer iOS as my personal platform and have gained new respect for Android in its latest "Jelly Bean" version, I don't believe it's good for users or the tech industry to have monopolies or duopolies.
I also believe there's room for a third significant mobile platform, which is why I'm a tad more optimistic than Dawson. Microsoft's Windows Phone platform could have been the third significant alternative for mobile users, but Microsoft seems intent on keeping Windows Phone overly simple and effectively crippled. That's good news for RIM, as Microsoft's Windows Phone missteps have cleared the space to the BlackBerry fill -- if BlackBerry OS 10 really delivers, that is.
We'll know very soon.
This article, "The BlackBerry 10 may be great -- and still fail," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.