New smartphone controls may appeal to IT managers

RIM adds fail-over functions and simplifies admin tools in BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

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Several of the stand-alone products offer impressive features, but RIM has gained an advantage by bundling its various management tools into a single offering, ensuring easier upgrade, patching and security processes, they added.

Dulaney suggested that RIM continues to benefit from the management software's closed technology -- it only manages BlackBerry devices. However, Microsoft's more open technology is starting to catch on with corporate users, he said.

Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates LLC in Northboro, Mass., said that in some companies, BlackBerry Enterprise Servers are managing tens of thousands of mobile devices. The updated version should help boost the number of such sites, he added.

"RIM has the high ground on wireless management," Gold said. "No one else comes close."

Some analysts noted that IT managers also like the software's ability to freeze or wipe data from a BlackBerry that has been reported lost or stolen.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM recently claimed that about 20 million consumers and business customers use its handheld devices. Its customer list includes several companies managing close to 100,000 BlackBerry users each.

RIM noted that the updated software also adds new capabilities for end users, such as the ability to access, save, view, edit and e-mail documents from shared Windows files.

The company also announced plans to create an application storefront, similar to Apple Inc.'s App Store, where corporate and consumer users can buy RIM or third-party applications for their BlackBerry devices.

This version of the story originally appeared in Computerworld's print edition.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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