BlackBerry is close to releasing a mobile management solution that will segment work and personal data on Andoid and iOS devices the way it does on the company’s own smartphones and tablets.
It said Thursday that Secure Work Space for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 will be available near the end of June after testing is completed. Closed beta testing has already stated.
Secure Work Space is the “other operating systems” counterpart to BlackBerry Balance, offering IT managers a secure way through the BES 10 mobile device management (MDM) platform to encrypt work-related data ensure that if organization staff lose a smart phone corporate data can’t be compromised. By offering a way to separate work and personal data on one device, staff don’t have to carry separate smart phones.
Meanwhile BlackBerry also announced that an unnamed partner – presumed to be a carrier – has ordered 1 million of the new Z10 handsets, the biggest order in the company’s history. Shipping starts immediately.
"An order for one million devices is a tremendous vote of confidence in BlackBerry 10," Rick Costanzo, BlackBerry’s EVP of global sales, said in a statement. "Consumers are ready for a new user experience, and BlackBerry 10 delivers. With strong partner support, coupled with this truly re-invented new platform, we have a powerful recipe for success."
Sales of the Z10 started in Canada and Britain in the first week of February. Sales in the U.S. will start in the last week of March. The Q10, with a physical keyboard, hasn’t been released yet.
The devices, which run the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, are vital for the company’s future. Although the Z10 hasn’t been released to all countries, some sign of sales progress is expected to be revealed on May 28 when BlackBerry [TSX: BB
] holds a conference call with financial analysts on the release of its fourth quarter and full year results. The Q4 results cover the three- month period ending March 2 so won’t include much in the way of Z10 sales, but analysts will want to see signs that the handset has a future.
Peter Devenyi, BlackBerry's senior vice-president of enteprise software, said in an interview that Secure Work Space has the same end-to-end encryption for all secured iOS and Android mobile applications as BES 10 does for BlackBerry devices.
However, not all features are the same. Because security in built into the BB10 operating system, BlackBerrys can offer secure sshared apps -- for example, a shared work and personal calendar -- that Android and iOS devices can't.
The fact that BES 10 can handle more than one operating system is a key weapon in BlackBerry’s attempt to convince IT departments to stay with BlackBerry in the face of declining sales. The combination of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) corporate policies and the attractiveness of large screen smart phones like the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy III line – available for years before the Z10 – has meant large numbers of people abandoning their older BlackBerrys.
Devenyi said Secure Work Space will help BlackBerry cement its position as a leading enterprise mobility management solution.