Diversify, diversify, diversify! It’s common advice in the investment world, especially when the economy’s not looking so rosy. The theory is, if you hold stakes in lots of different kinds of companies, the failure of one company (or even a whole industry) won’t sink your entire portfolio.
For years, the bulk of Research in Motion’s eggs have been in one basket: BlackBerry smartphones. And it was quite the lucrative basket. But now, thanks to the consumerization of IT, the BlackBerry is losing its grip on the enterprise market. So, naturally, RIM is diversifying.
The company today announced BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, a BlackBerry mobile device management (MDM) service that will also manage iPhones, iPads and Android devices.
Mobile Fusion will allow IT admins to control device-specific functions — such as remote lock and wipe, policy enforcement and application delivery — from one Web-based console, RIM said. The service will rely on BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) for BlackBerry management, and it will use software acquired from ubitexx to manage Apple and Android devices, according to The Verge. A closed beta program will begin in January, with general availability scheduled for late March, RIM said.
There are other multi-platform MDM vendors out there, but RIM is in a unique position to capitalize, thanks to its history in the enterprise and existing relationships with BES customers. (That’s if Mobile Fusion can manage iOS and Android as well as BES can manage BlackBerry — which, given most vendors’ history managing other vendors’ stuff, is a big “if.”)
The bigger issue, however, is what this news means for RIM’s core business, enterprise smartphones. RIM isn’t explicitly admitting defeat, but the company knows it’s in trouble. In the press release, RIM said it developed Mobile Fusion in response to “an increase in the diversity of mobile devices in use in the enterprise,” which is the nice way of saying “Apple and Google stealing our market share left and right.”
In light of this admission, diversification is the right move for RIM. But given the company’s recent troubles, it may not be enough.]]>
By Julia Anderson and Colin Steele, Editors
Apple sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S devices in the three days after its launch, the company reported. AT&T and Sprint also reported record sales on the first day their customers could purchase the iPhone 4S in stores.
More than 25 million devices are now running iOS 5, the latest iPhone, iPod touch and iPad operating system, Apple said. In addition, more than 20 million people have signed up for iCloud, Apple’s new cloud storage service. Both iOS 5 and iCloud debuted just last week.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich debuts
With Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google is unifying its smartphone and tablet operating systems.
The current smartphone-specific OS is Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and the tablet OS is Android 3.0 Honeycomb. But Android 4.0 is designed to run on both kinds of devices, which should quiet some of the complaints about Android device fragmentation.
Ice Cream Sandwich features a new user interface, with separate home screen tabs for apps and widgets. There’s also improved management of notifications and application-level controls over data usage. And for business users, the OS offers new security and VPN APIs.
Google and Samsung showed off Android 4.0 at a media event in Hong Kong this week. The OS is expected to be available on devices next month.
RIM launches BBX, immediately sued
BBX, the next-generation operating system for BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, debuted at this week’s BlackBerry DevCon Americas conference.
BBX combines the traditional BlackBerry OS with QNX, an operating system Research in Motion (RIM) acquired last year. RIM was short on details about BBX, but the company did say the OS would make it easier to develop richer, more interactive “super apps” for BlackBerry devices.
Talk about potential BBX features was short-lived, however, because the day after the launch, a software company called BASIS filed legal action against RIM over the BBX name. It turns out BASIS has its own operating system called BBx, and RIM’s announcement caused “great confusion” for BASIS users, the company said.
The lukewarm reception to BBX, last week’s BlackBerry outage and the continued success of iOS and Android devices have at least one blogger wondering whether RIM should give up on BlackBerry entirely.
Motorola, Verizon unveil Droid RAZR
The new Droid RAZR will be the world’s thinnest LTE-capable smartphone, Motorola and Verizon Wireless said this week.
Despite its 7.1mm waist line, the latest in Motorola’s line of Android smartphones has a similar look to other Droid models. But it boasts a Kevlar fiber casing designed to “withstand the back-pocket test,” Motorola said.
The Droid RAZR runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and supports Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Motorola has also included support for its MotoCast application, which streams content between PCs and mobile devices. Business users will have access to corporate email, the ability to view and edit Word documents, and Citrix Receiver for remote application access.
Pre-orders for the Droid RAZR start Oct. 27, and it’s scheduled to be available in stores in November.
Photo (cc) by Denise Cross and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.]]>