ORLANDO: BlackBerry has added a new Qwerty smartphone and updated its BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) management platform as the firm claimed it is "firing on all cylinders" in its efforts to turn around the company's fortunes.
At the BlackBerry Live event, chief executive Thorsten Heins announced the BlackBerry Q5 handset with a Qwerty keyboard and 3.1in touchscreen. He said it would help the firm to better target emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and Latin America, where BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is already widely used.
Pricing and other details have yet to be disclosed, but BlackBerry said the Q5 will be available in selected markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, starting in July. It will be offered in black, white, red and pink.
BlackBerry also announced availability of an updated version of its corporate server, BES 10.1, which existing customers can download and install for free.
Customers can exchange their client access licences for free through 2013, according to chief operating officer Kristian Tear. Up to 12,000 instances of BES 10, which officially launched in January, have already been deployed by customers, according to the firm.
The BES 10.1 update offers simplified deployment and provides administrators with an extended set of IT policy settings and controls to lock down and control features of BlackBerry 10 smartphones in a corporate environment. Bes 10.1 can also now be deployed in a highly available active/passive configuration, according to the firm.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry said that the BlackBerry 10.1 platform update that debuted on the Q10 handset will be available to users of the Z10 device. Skype is also available on the BlackBerry 10 platform this week, but requires devices with BlackBerry 10.1.
BlackBerry also announced that its BlackBerry Secure Work Space technology is now in extended beta and due to launch this summer. The technology is designed to bring some of the benefits of the Balance features of BlackBerry 10 devices, which separates work and personal data, to the iPhone and Android.
BlackBerry was also keen to emphasise its enterprise credentials and commitment to its traditional corporate market.
"With BlackBerry 10 we have an unrivalled offering for those needing protection for corporate data. We have the best mobile management, a high performance network to handle mobile traffic securely and efficiently," said Heins.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.