Research in Motion (RIM) is pushing the enterprise credentials of its BlackBerry 10 platform during the run-up to its launch, seeking to build up a critical mass of corporate developers who can keep the BlackBerry a key part of the infrastructure for large enterprise customers.
At RIM's BlackBerry 10 Jam Enterprise event in London, Gregg Ostrowski, senior director of Enterprise Developer Partnerships said the firm was "well positioned" to meet the growing demand for enterprise mobility.
He said this is due to its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) technology and the ease of use and flexibility of its developer tools for BlackBerry 10.
In particular, the BES is able to act as a secure link akin to a VPN connection between BlackBerry devices and enterprise applications running behind the firewall on the corporate network, a capability not available with many other mobile platforms.
"The problem with bring your own device (BYOD) is that it's great for accessing your email on a tablet, but you need to look beyond email to the more important behind-the-firewall apps, and we've been able to do that for years," Ostrowski said.
A new version of the platform, BES 10, is set for launch at the same time as BlackBerry 10, sometime in the first quarter of 2013.
RIM has two priorities as far as enterprise developers go, according to Ostrowski.
The first is to ensure customers with existing applications can operate these across a mixed environment of older BlackBerry smartphones and the upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices.
The second is to make sure they take full advantage of the new platform's capabilities.
"Many enterprise apps comprise things like home-grown CRM systems. In-house developers need to know how to take that and run it on both BlackBerry OS 6 and BlackBerry 10," Ostrowski said
"After it [BlackBerry 10] lands, we need them to start using the new APIs to access the calendar and contacts on and the Invocation Framework to allow apps to integrate with each other," he added.
To this end, RIM is pushing its WebWorks HTML5 SDK as the tool for the compatibility route, with the native developer kit for more advanced apps.
WebWorks enables developers to "compile HTML5 so it runs like a native app," Ostrowski explained, adding that, as HTML5 is where everyone wants to go for cross-platform compatibility, "we think we are well positioned with a good developer proposition," he said.
Another key advantage for RIM is that BlackBerry 10 handsets are partitioned into separate "work" and "personal" environments under a feature known as BlackBerry Balance, claimed Ostrowski.
BES 10 enables administrators to push approved applications into the company-managed work environment, he added.
Ostrowski admitted that it "could be years before we see the end of all the legacy BlackBerry devices out there," but said that RIM was priming the developer pump to make the transition as easy as possible.
"The process is about customers being ready for BlackBerry 10, not just waiting for it," he said.
BlackBerry 10, the first devices based running the platform and BES 10 are all still set for delivery in the first quarter of 2013.
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