RIM extends support to iPhone and Android devices

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RIM extends support to iPhone and Android devices

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion launches.

Research in Motion has launched BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, its mobile device management (MDM) platform for BlackBerry, Apple iPhone and Android devices.

Mobile Fusion targets the growing number of government organisations and enterprises that have allowed Android and iOS devices into the corporate network under bring-your-own-device policies.

It provides connectivity, asset, configuration, application and software management, as well as remote wipe and lock functionality for smartphone and tablets, including RIM's PlayBook.

“For businesses and government, managing a mix of mobile devices on any scale is chaotic," said Alan Panezic, vice president, enterprise product management and marketing at RIM said in a statement.

"Organizations face pressure to allow employees to bring their own devices into the workplace, and they are looking to RIM as the global leader in the enterprise mobility space to solve that problem."

Analyst firm Gartner reported that Android devices accounted for 50.9 percent, Nokia Symbian 11.7 percent, Apple iOS 23.8 percent, and RIM 8.8 percent of smartphones sales to end users between October and December last year.

According to MDM vendor Good Technologies (pdf), which did not support RIM and Windows Phone devices, iOS accounted for 70.8 percent of its customers' device activations in the third quarter of last year, with Android accounting for the remaining 29.8 percent.

Mobile Fusion is based on BlackBerry Enterprise Server (version 5.0.3), designed to enforce policy and offer high-level encryption services for devices connecting to the corporate network. 

RIM launched BlackBerry Mobile Fusion software as a free download, priced by the number of devices being managed.

"Client access licenses (CALs) start at $99 per user or $4 per user per month (billed annually); volume discounts are also available," the company said.

RIM last week reported a $US2.2 bilion ($A2.1 billion) drop in annual profit, after suffering a 25 percent decline in smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Chief executive officer Thorsten Heins blamed the smartphone decline on the BYO trend threatening RIM’s traditional enterprise user base.

He said the company planned to undertake a “substantial change” in focus, to strengthen RIM's position in the enterprise market.

Allie Coyne contributed to this story.

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