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Will BYOD-friendly Balance keep BlackBerry in the government fold?

At its BlackBerry Jam Americas 2012 conference in San Jose, Calif., this week, Research In Motion showed off its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system, which the company hopes will help reconnect BlackBerry with the users, such as those in government, who were once so enamored of it.

RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins said in his keynote speech that the new OS is “all about getting things done.” They’ve even gone so far as to dub the interface “BlackBerry Flow.”

One feature that should be of special interest to government users and IT managers is what they are calling Balance. This tool will allow network administrators to manage and encrypt work-related information on a user’s BlackBerry device while leaving that user’s personal content untouched. Essentially, users get to have two phones in one, with separate apps, information and security settings.

The company also says that the new version of BlackBerry Enterprise Server will be able to do this for all of the devices it manages, regardless of whether it is a BlackBerry or not.

This is definitely a big step for RIM for two reasons. One, the company is freely admitting that “bring your own device” is the new reality, and the only way to stay relevant is to accept that reality. Two, the company is making moves to try to make BlackBerry a real choice for a user’s personal mobile device. Whether the company can leverage this into retaining and possibly increasing its user base remains to be seen. We’ll find out after BlackBerry 10 is released early next year.

At least the new BlackBerry will work with older adapters (cough cough, iPhone 5).

Posted by Greg Crowe on Sep 27, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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