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BlackBerry apologises to business and IT professionals, promising new start with BES 10

BlackBerry yesterday courted its core group of customers - business and IT professionals.

Executives from the beleaguered company — fighting for its life in recent years against the huge mobile market gains made by Apple and Android devices — delved into the enterprise-heavy capabilities of BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10 during an event in New York City.

The event kicked off with a round of mea culpas from BlackBerry heads. Richard Piasentin, vice president and managing director of US sales, marketing, and operations, told the audience that one cause of BlackBerry's woes was, "RIM...I'm using RIM intentionally here, a couple of years ago, stopped listening to its most important clients, both from an enterprise perspective and also from an end user perspective."

Without the "patience and loyalty of IT enterprises like yourselves, big business, and B2B" BlackBerry "would not be here today," he told those in attendance.

Jeff Holleran, senior director of Enterprise Product Management, then apologised to IT BES administrators for last year's release of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, which he dubbed "Mobile Confusion" and said "created nothing but confusion in the marketplace."

The company's focus is now back on the features for what it was once lauded: security and corporate-level device management. With BES 10, the BlackBerry ecosystem acknowledges and works with, rather than try to harshly control, the influx of end users' personal mobile devices on corporate networks.

Here's a rundown of specific BES 10 features demonstrated and discussed at the event:

  • BES 10 provides behind-the-firewall connections and secure connectivity to back-end services and corporate apps without need for a VPN. Public or private connectivity through a carrier network, public Internet, or a Direct Enterprise Connection (DEC), are all supported.
  • Push technology is a key feature, as well as the ability to work when devices are offline.
  • BES 10 includes built-in app management and provides enterprise-level mobility management, cross-platform management, and unified communications.
  • End-users can easily activate a device to BES with an administrator-supplied activation code and by entering an email address on their devices.
  • BlackBerry Management Studio is a centralised console where admins can manage BES as well as create groups, and apply policies and profiles to individuals or groups.
  • Secure end-to-end encryption and FIPS-140-2 validation are among security features in the BlackBerry platform.
  • BlackBerry World for Work lets organisations create a private, corporate app storefront. Apps from the public BlackBerry World store can be added to a private store. BlackBerry World now has over 70,000 apps. One thousand apps have been added every day since its launch. Many of the apps come from partners of BlackBerry including Cisco, Citrix, Box, and SAP.