BES comes to the cloud
RIM's cloud plans involve cloud enablement of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. "Right now, BES is an on-premise solution. As we see more organizations migrating to the cloud, we're thinking about a strategy with respect to what that means for BES," Taylor said. "BES in the cloud is on the road map."
The planned cloud BES service will provide a Web-based console for managing BlackBerrys and is designed for small organizations using an Internet service provider or hosted email, RIM said.
Also on RIM's road map is an enterprise server architecture for BES that is designed for the cloud. That architecture would accommodate cloud computing through multitenancy and "significant" scalability improvements, according to RIM.
BES 5.0.3 and PlayBook tablet due soon; BlackBerry OS 6 timeline unclear
RIM also plans to ship by April BES 5.0.3, which it announced in July. The update will support BlackBerry OS 6's ability to selectively wipe corporate information while leaving personal information and apps in place. So far, BlackBerry OS 6 devices include the BlackBerry Torch, which was released last summer, and the newer Style and Bold 9780 models. RIM said several earlier smartphones will updatable to BlackBerry OS 6: the Bold 9650, Bold 9700, Curve 3G, and Pearl 3G.
RIM also previewed its PlayBook tablet, which it said would ship by April. The tablet features a seven-inch screen and runs its own operating system, the BlackBerry Tablet OS based on the QNX OS RIM acquired a year ago. Pricing will be competitive to other tablets: under $500, RIM senior product manager Ryan Bidan said.
When tethered to a BlackBerry via Bluetooth, the PlayBook can access BES-enabled services, such as email and corporate apps. When not tethered, the PlayBook can access the Internet via Wi-Fi and run locally installed apps, but it cannot access BES-enabled services or be directly managed via BES, according to RIM. RIM had no details on ways to manage a PlayBook outside of a BES environment, such as for employees who are issued a tablet but not a smartphone or whose smartphone is not a BlackBerry.
(Additional reporting by InfoWorld Executive Editor Galen Gruman)
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