It has been nearly six months since the company formerly known as Research in Motion launched two new smartphones in what seemed like a last-gasp bid to maintain its share of the mobile market. Where BlackBerry used to be the go-to name in mobile for consumers and businesses alike, it has spent the last few years ceding market share to Apple and Samsung. But its latest software move seeks to reaffirm its place in the enterprise — and it will be using Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android to do so.
The company’s June 25 launch of its Secure Work Space software separates personal data from business-related applications and programs on its own devices, but also those running Android and iOS. Such software appeals to the enterprise as more employees use personal mobile devices for work, and businesses begin to embrace this BYOD culture. Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s various smartphones are the global favorites, so enabling mobile software management on devices other than its own is clearly a wise move on the part of the ailing phone maker.
The caveat of having employees work remotely on personal devices is the security — or rather a lack thereof — as confidential files or data is transferred on various networks. BlackBerry has been a favorite amongst IT departments for its security features, even during its slow demise, and its Enterprise Service 10, launched earlier this year, is the broader program that hosts Secure Work Space. It addresses security qualms by allowing software management across the aforementioned popular phones through a company’s internal network, thereby relieving some data risks. Such a service is aimed at government agencies and large corporate clients, according to reports.
While separating personal and work data is not a new concept (other software systems allow it on mobile devices), such a service could widely appeal to BlackBerry’s devoted following (i.e. all those businesses that bought the Z10 and the Q10). With iOS and Android now manageable via BlackBerry’s software, other businesses could soon be on board. And some analysts postulate that BlackBerry’s new devices are already a success: Reports indicate that the company is poised to announce improving sales despite the mixed reviews of its new phones. Its earnings report on June 28 will likely confirm this.