BlackBerry launches service to manage Android, iOS devices

June 25, 2013

BlackBerry has launched a service that will allow some of its most important customers to use its products, even when they may not be using its phones.

The company announced Tuesday that it was officially launching a feature called “Secure Work Space,” which lets client IT departments set limits around features such as e-mail, contacts, calendars and Web browsing, to keep it separate from personal data. The service also includes features such as secure document editing and browsing, all through the company’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 platform. Better known as BES 10, the platform gives government and corporate customers more control over managing their employees’ devices.

BlackBerry already offers this kind of secure separation service for its newest smartphones. Samsung, which has stepped up its pursuit of corporate customers in recent months, also offers a similar feature called “SAFE” on some of its Android-based devices, such as the popular Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note lines.

The move may give the company a way to stay in the pockets of its all-important corporate and government clients. The firm has been losing its appeal with consumers steadily over the past few years, particularly as more corporate and government IT departments have allowed employees to use their personal smartphones for business as well. But its strong reputation for security is still a point in its favor with those looking for ways to securely manage employees’ personal and workplace data.

The multi-platform approach gives BlackBerry the opportunity to succeed in offering its services to those customers — even divorced from the success of new line of smartphones.

"Mobility is fundamentally transforming how we live and work. As our dependency on mobile solutions grows, and as a greater variety of mobile devices enter the workplace, the need for solutions to manage and secure these devices has never been greater,” David Smith, Blackberry’s Enterprise Mobile Computing executive vice president, said in a statement.

BlackBerry reports its financial earnings on Friday, which should offer a glimpse into how its efforts to mount a comeback with its new phones and new operating system have progressed so far. Investors did seem to be heartened by the BlackBerry announcement Tuesday, sending its stock up more than 2 percent in pre-market trading.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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