This week has been quite confusing with news of BlackBerry Enterprise Server, BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry 7, and Mobile Fusion. It started earlier this week with BGR posting an “exclusive” story detailing how BlackBerry 10 would essentially destroy the existing BES structure and be a huge headache for enterprise IT managers. CrackBerry, and even RIM, countered the BGR story with some posts of their own, and now we’re bringing all the news together so you can understand what is coming with the BES transition and BlackBerry 10. Follow me past the break for the full explanation.
Right now it’s pretty simple for companies to manage their BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry Enterprise Server(BES) 5 manages all BlackBerry Smartphones up through BlackBerry 7 and BlackBerry Mobile Fusion manages BlackBerry PlayBooks. Companies can also use Microsoft ActiveSync to manage email, calendars, etc. on BlackBerry Smartphones that are employee’s personal devices.
With the coming of BlackBerry 10, RIM plans to debut a new management software that combines the management of BlackBerry 10 Smartphones, BlackBerry PlayBooks, Android, and iOS devices. This new software, dubbed BES 10, will combine Mobile Fusion and BES to let a company manage all their devices together. However, BES 10 will not be backwards-compatiable with the older, Java-based BlackBerry Smartphones. So what does this mean?
If a company wishes to keep BlackBerry 6 or 7 Smartphones on while moving to BES 10, they will still need a copy of BES 5 to manage those devices. So, if companies want BlackBerry 6 or 7 devices, they will still have to maintain BES 5. What options does that leave? Here’s a list of three possible scenarios.
- 1) Transition completely to BES 10 and Mobile Fusion. This requires the company to run BlackBerry 10 devices exclusively and allows BlackBerry 10 Smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook. This also allows for the management of iOS and Android devices, something that many employees and companies are running towards. This is the ideal solution and what RIM is hoping to see companies do, excluding the iOS and Android part, of course.
- 2) Purchase BES 10 and Mobile Fusion but keep BES 5 running to support a mixture of BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry 6/7 devices, plus iOS and Android devices. This is a great solution for companies that plan to transition to BlackBerry 10 but can’t do a total switch at once.
- 3) Run BES 5 and Mobile Fusion to allow BlackBerry 6/7 devices and BlackBerry PlayBooks. This is the cheapest solution for companies and the least desirable for employees and RIM.
There’s no telling exactly what companies plan to do and there’s no telling what types of deals RIM plans to offer BES customers to keep them on when the BlackBerry 10 transition occurs. As I stated earlier, the three scenarios above are what companies are looking at for the BlackBerry 10 transition. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the new devices launch.