Research In Motion (RIM) used the recent IBM Lotusphere event in Orlando to announce a series of updates for its BlackBerry platform that include enhanced messaging and collaboration, simpler management, enhanced security and expanded application development support. According to the company, these updates are designed to benefit users, IT groups and developers and will enable organizations to increase mobility, productivity and return on investment.
The company points to the following platform upgrades:
- Document Downloading and Editing -- Users will be able to directly edit Microsoft Office Word, PowerPoint and Excel files.
- Remote Search for Messages -- Users will be able to search for and retrieve email messages from their email server even if the message is no longer stored on their smartphone.
- Free-Busy Calendar Lookup -- Users on the go will be able to check the availability of colleagues before sending a meeting request.
- HTML and Rich Text Email Rendering -- Users will be able to view HTML and rich text email messages with original formatting preserved including font colors and styles, embedded images, hyperlinks, tables, bullets and other formatting.
- Advanced Enterprise Instant Messaging and Presence -- New features for users running IBM Lotus Sametime and Microsoft Live Communications Server will include improved address book integration, IM contact "click to call", IM session "convert to call" and advanced emoticon support, allowing co-workers to collaborate and communicate more effectively using their BlackBerry smartphones.
According to the company, the new features of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server will further improve and simplify the administration of BlackBerry deployments.
- BlackBerry Monitoring Service -- A new software component will help provide administrators with enhanced monitoring, alerting, troubleshooting and reporting capabilities. BlackBerry Monitoring Service will be included in the next release of BlackBerry Enterprise Server3.
- BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager -- A Web-based device management console has been designed to increase deployment flexibility and simplify software upgrades by reducing the number of BlackBerry software components installed on end-user workstations. BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager enables users to install software and manage their BlackBerry smartphone from any browser-enabled computer. The software is available now as a free download from: www.blackberry.com/go/webdesktop.
- Over-the-Air Device Software Upgrades -- Organizations will be able to update a user's BlackBerry device software wirelessly, delivering a fast, cost-effective method for remotely supporting users and managing BlackBerry device software lifecycles.
- Expanded Systems Compatibility -- BlackBerry Enterprise Server v4.1.5 is certified with Microsoft Exchange 2007 SP1 and supports IBM® Lotus Domino versions 7.03 and 8.0.
- Enhanced Security -- Security is a cornerstone of the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution and today there are over 400 IT policy settings and controls that an administrator can set to centrally manage and enforce security policies. Newly introduced IT policies further enhance the security and control of a BlackBerry deployment5.
- Encrypted Attachment Viewing -- Users will be able view attachments within encrypted PGP and S/MIME messages.
- Increased Control over GPS Administrators will have the ability to control which applications access GPS functionality on BlackBerry smartphones.
- Increased Bluetooth Controls -- Administrators will have the ability to enable or disable certain Bluetooth profiles as well as set the allowable 'discoverable time.'
For more information about these and other upgrades, visit www.blackberry.com/go/serverupdate
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