RIM releases enterprise server software for mobile apps

Research In Motion Tuesday announced server software that makes it easier for companies to deploy mobile applications tied into back-end data.

Available now, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Mobile Data System (MDS) Applications runs behind the corporate firewall as a secure intermediary that can bypass corporate e-mail servers. Users with BlackBerry handsets and MDS client code now can access directly an array of enterprise applications and Web services without needing to be connected to an e-mail account.

MDS is RIM’s application development framework and tools for creating BlackBerry handheld applications. The new version of Enterprise Server is tied directly into such MDS features as administrative and provisioning services of MDS applications and their users. Enterprise Server provides security, traffic optimization and the ability to push data (as it does e-mail) via wireless connections to handheld devices. MDS also includes a range of developer tools, and client software for BlackBerry handhelds.

The new software is part of RIM’s ongoing push to expand beyond its popular mobile messaging software. The plan is to use the core BlackBerry functions to link users with a much broader range of corporate applications and data. Third-party software vendors also can use MDS services and interfaces to “BlackBerry-ize” their applications.

RIM also announced enhancements to its BlackBerry Smart Card Reader software. The reader is a lightweight, wearable, battery-operated device that uses embedded security credentials to create secure, two-factor authentication between users and their BlackBerry devices and corporate PCs.

What’s been added is the ability to run the authentication wirelessly over a secure Bluetooth connection to a PC running Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or higher. The link supports Advanced Encryption Standard-256 encryption, and meets the Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 encryption requirements. Security keys on the reader are managed through the Blackberry Enterprise Server, Version 4.0.2 or higher.

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