Research in Motion, playing on its strength in enterprise mobile-device security, is launching an upgrade to its BlackBerry Enterprise Server that will allow management of Android and Apple devices, too.
In a press release, Alan Panezic, RIM vice president of enterprise product management and marketing, said the new service, called BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, will provide a single Web-based console to “allow IT departments to confidently oversee the use of both company-owned and employee-owned mobile devices within their organizations.”
It will offer management of BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets, as well as smartphones and tablets running Android and iOS operating systems.
The service’s first-quarter release will coincide with a PlayBook software upgrade in February that will give the tablet a native email application, rather than requiring users to access an enterprise email account through a BlackBerry smartphone Internet connection, according to Toronto’s Globe and Mail.
The management service will differ by platform, but the administrator will be able to perform tasks such as set up user groups and remotely install or remove applications, with more limited capabilities on iPhones, according to Channel Register. It says RIM is taking applications from companies interested in participating in closed beta testing.
Meanwhile, a Black Friday price drop on PlayBook tablets led to brisk sales, with Best Buy reporting it had sold out. Staples and OfficeMax also had removed the 16GB version from their websites late Monday.