As a long time BlackBerry user, partner and integrator, IBM is making a solid appearance at the BlackBerry Live conference in Orlando this week. Almost 40 employees from across all parts of IBM are here to gain insight into the latest developments of the BlackBerry platform and ecosystem. IBM, as well as our customers, see BlackBerry playing a role as part of a strategic enterprise mobility strategy.
BlackBerry is back
The conference kicked off this morning to a packed house with a keynote by BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins that was full of exciting announcements. While many said that the BlackBerry conference in 2012 was going to be the last, BlackBerry is now back with many new options for the enterprise mobile users. In addition, Kevin McConnell (@kevinmcconnell1) of IBM presented as a featured enterprise partner, talking about experience with BlackBerry 10 and our plans to use BlackBerry 10 internally at IBM. Below are a few of the topics that were touched on this morning.
BlackBerry goes multiplatform
In 2012, BlackBerry began device management of iOS and Android devices. With the announcement today, BlackBerry shows that they can now also bring the best features of the BlackBerry platform to iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Today they announced that BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.1 and BlackBerry Secure Workspace are coming this summer. These products will bring the BlackBerry security model to iOS and Android users, and deliver unprecedented security and BlackBerry Balance features to other device platforms. There will be more announcements and information posted about this as the conference goes on, so be sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest updates.
Cross-platform messaging received a shot in the arm today as BlackBerry also announced something that users have been wanting for years. This summer, the BlackBerry Messenger service (BBM), will launch on iOS and Android as a free application. No longer will only BlackBerry device users be able to use the rich messaging features of BBM to talk to other BlackBerry users; now iPhone and Android users can join that conversation too.
While these features have been rumored to launch for many years, it seems that 2013 really will be the year that BlackBerry goes multiplatform.
BlackBerry device updates
Three key points regarding the updates of BlackBerry devices were exciting parts of this announcement.
First, OS 10.1 has also been released for the existing BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices. This software update brings an overall fit and finish to the BlackBerry 10 software that was lacking in the first OS version. Improving things like device battery life, camera, cursor control and messaging options, the updated OS should be available today for users to download to their device.
This summer a whole new BlackBerry 10 device is going to be available. The BlackBerry Q5 will be the new low-cost, entry-level BlackBerry device. It will come with a keyboard and touch screen, and will be available in red, white, pink and black at launch.
Starting today, BlackBerry is launching a new social network that integrates right into BBM, called BBM Channels. While the new social network is still in beta, BlackBerry announced high-profile partners like Alicia Keys and Mercedes Benz who will participate. The social network will be available not only for BlackBerry 10 devices but also for classic BlackBerry OS 5, 6 and 7 devices. You can participate and download the beta today through the BlackBerry Beta Zone at http://www.blackberry.com/beta.
While this post could only touch on a few points from the keynote and opening general session, I tried to target items that will really be of interest to IBM’s enterprise mobility customers. What kind of additional information are you interested in from BlackBerry Live? What would you like me to blog more about this week? Respond to me here or on Twitter.Tweet