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Research In Motion bets on Mobile Fusion and BlackBerry 10

Research In Motion offered the first look at its new mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10, and other enterprise products that give IT pros cautious optimism for the company.

ORLANDO -- The last two years have been difficult for Research in Motion, but on Tuesday, the BlackBerry maker offered a glimpse of its next mobile operating system and new enterprise services that give  IT pros reason to believe that the company can survive in an iPhone and Android dominated world.

Research in Motion (RIM) provided the BlackBerry 10 developer toolkit for native and HTML5 software development during the BlackBerry World 2012 conference here, exhibiting a new touch keyboard and other features that could keep the enterprise device relevant, even in BYOD shops.

Other products give some customers reason to believe that not all is lost for RIM. For example, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion provides expanded mobile device management capabilities for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone devices through BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

“RIM needs to play to its strengths [in enterprise] and not worry about the other stuff,” such as competing with Apple and Google, said Trevor Davis, co-founder of ZeroWire Labs, a Toronto-based mobile applications company.

Others who attended the show said that they like that RIM now allows third-party devices to utilize BlackBerry’s network operating center for push email. Show-goers were also impressed with BlackBerry Cloud Service, which integrates Microsoft Office 365 productivity apps with BlackBerry devices.

RIM’s future rides on BlackBerry 10

Some customers worry about RIM’s future and say that the release of BlackBerry 10 could be a make-or-break moment for the company.

RIM’s enterprise foundation and mobile security reputation may keep the company afloat until the general release of BlackBerry 10, said Brian Reed, chief product officer of enterprise mobility management company, BoxTone, in Columbia, Md.

The company did not give a timeframe for the release of BlackBerry 10. During a keynote, RIM's CEO, Thorsten Heins, said that the company “would take [its] time to get it right.”

Can BlackBerry 10 appeal to consumers?

The challenge for RIM is to convince more people to become BlackBerry users. The company hopes to attract more users through a more consumer-friendly mobile product that is also attractive to enterprises concerned with mobile data security and productivity.

With BlackBerry 10, RIM has eschewed the app-icon approach in favor of constantly-updated, “cascading” information tiles that run layered over one another. Swiping aside one app reveals the app behind it, and users can see updated information for three apps at once. 

Other features revealed this week include a touch keyboard that is capable of adaptive and predictive text, a camera that users can rewind or fast forward to seconds before or after image capture to save the right moment, plus the gaming and music capabilities of the PlayBook tablet.

Though it’s too early to predict whether or not RIM will find success with the new operating system, Reed said he likes what he’s seen so far. He believes that the combination of BlackBerry 10 and RIM’s enterprise services offer businesses an intriguing alternative to Android and iOS.

“There’s room in the car market for Ford, Honda and BMW,” Reed said. “It reasons there will be room for several competing mobile OSes.”

The question, Reed said, is not whether RIM can regain its dominance in the mobile market, but whether the company can offer a compelling mix of services and products for consumers and enterprises alike.

Mobile Fusion appeals to enterprise IT

The new enterprise products from RIM, such as BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, acknowledge the growing role that mobile and cloud play in the enterprise, and the products address IT’s security concerns around personal iPhone and Android devices. 

Grupo Salinas, a Mexico-based conglomerate that owns a variety of businesses, recently deployed a mobile program for executives using Mobile Fusion. Within 90 days, Mobile Fusion will allow Grupo Salinas to roll out a company-wide BYOD program that will support BlackBerry, Android and iPhone devices.

Grupo Salinas expects to add about 18,000 phones, a large majority of which will be BlackBerry devices. Though Android and iPhone are gaining popularity, BlackBerry devices haven’t fallen out of favor in Mexico for BYOD, said Gustavo Vazquez, chief information officer for Grupo Salinas.

The lack of stable Internet infrastructure in Mexico means any BYOD or mobility program has to rely on secure cellular data connections, something Grupo Salinas felt that only RIM could provide.

“We are trying to use the BlackBerry connection because with VPN [virtual private network] the connection can be lost at any moment,” Vazquez said.

RIM also provides good service management products and back-end IT support for enterprises, according to Vazquez.

More on BlackBerry

Understanding the basics of Blackberry Enterprise Server Express

Can the new RIM CEO resuscitate BlackBerry?

BlackBerry application development: Determining the best approach

Moving forward, RIM intends to focus on “cloud, secure connectivity and securing data at rest” across multiple devices. This focus is influenced by the feedback that RIM has received from a variety of organizations, ranging from “mom and pop businesses to Fortune 500 companies,” said Jeff Holleran, director of enterprise software at RIM.

An analysis released by IDC Corp. this week estimated that BlackBerry’s global market share of mobile phones fell to 6.7% during the first quarter of this year -- roughly half of what it was in the same period in 2011.

RIM says it has 77 million users worldwide.

Let us know what you think about the story; email James Furbush or follow @JamesFurbush  on Twitter.

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What do you think the future holds for RIM/BlackBerry?
There is nothing to make the Blackberry standout above other devices. Even if numbers say otherwise it is the iPad the is winning over both as personal and enterprise devices. And even though the iPad 3 is not much better than the iPad 2 everyone wants one.
RIM has to concentrate on the enterprise side of the business
RIM should survive if they are innovative enough
Long live Blackberry. You can do it!
RIM would take [its] time to get it right? Isn't that what HP said about the TouchPad? He could have chosen his words better. I really hope they can come back from this. I'm a former Blackberry user, and I have no plans to get another unless they show me something compelling at a competitive price. However, I'm hoping they can pull it off for the sake of the thousands of jobs at stake. I see a lot of jokes and comments about how clueless RIM management is or has been, but there a lot of real people whose well-being is riding on what happens with RIM. Good Luck everyone!
RIM is good enterprise product, but will not be able to sustain to make his cost because of low volume of sale. RIM will not be in market by end of 2014.
If only the set prices go up and the services per month price goes down!
because if its security strength
Fusion is a strong product which will keep Blackberry relevant regardless of handhelds. Blackberry mobile devices will become competitive again shortly, and will continue to offer certain advantages by being more practical and business oriented. Iphones and Androids depend too much on apps to be the number choice for the commercial market. It was RIM's error to allow these devices to upset its strong dominance in the commercial market.
Depends on the users - will they find the new features useful, easy to use and cool.
Depends on RIM - are they agile enough to get ahead of the curve and lead with innovative tech - or are they just chasing and trying to catch up. RIM's future is not at all secure. (but then again - neither is Apple's without Jobs)
I believe the new BB 10 OS will match iOS and android. Blackberry is still extremely popular in Africa, and i believe the new OS will solidify that
BB suck. They just keep coming up with shit projections as to how their new OS or phone etc. would be the next best thing. People buy into that and are dissapointed and are tsuck with $500-$700 device till the end of their contract. No wonder they're going down. Serves them right!!
RIM will survive as long as its keeps its focus on addressing the corporate and business user needs and allows integration of ERP apps like apple has taken on
RIM is living in the past. Unless they get out of the old rut they will be gone.
RIM/BlackBerry won't disappear entirely but will be severely diminshed over time.
People underestimate the enterprise/government strength of RIM.
RIM might be late to the party but it still has got the best QWERTY phone in the market.
Once RIM satisfies its target group needs, it will survive. It just has to become a Lexus for the Mobile community. And it has to be compatible with, at least Android. Also, it has to react fast and decisively - there is no time for introspection.
Go BB!!
it's up in the air, they are losing customer very fast, 10 better be ready for the real world and new phones with more features. Last, stop overcharging for the phones and be more competitive
Are you kidding? This company is a turkey just awaiting Christmas
While RIM has solid products for the Enterprise, they are coming in a little late to try and compete in the consumer market. They have a lot of ground to cover to catch up. I personally hope they make it.
Blackberry is not dead
More affordable market segment and people just love BBM
I do think that RIM will survive, perhaps not as we know it today. An acquisition by a Microsoft or Android house could prove to be a very strong alliance by either pair.
RIM will survive if the new BB Mobile Fusion can secure othe devices as it claims.
there should be proper marketing position for RIM mobiles in India.
RIM has great products. But always late to catch up the customers.. :(
For secure mobile apps BlackBerry will be the preferred choice for most costomers.
I think RIM/BlackBerry still have a place in the business market and they are still the choice for some business units. I don't think it will dissapear but it may end up being acquired by another company and kept as a separate unit if their BlackBerry 10 product and Fusion Server don't take off like RIM is hoping.
As much as I want RIM to succeed, I am afraid that pinning the future of an entire company on a single product is not a good strategy.
RIM will be able to leverage the lack of costomer loyalty to mobile devices. What is hot is what sells.
not next year but in the next 5 years