‘Virtual’ BlackBerry software planned for Windows Mobile smartphones
Research In Motion has announced plans to introduce software that will turn a Windows Mobile-based smartphone into a ‘virtual BlackBerry’.
RIM says that it plans to begin shipping the new application suite later this year for select devices based on Windows Mobile 6. It will provide support for BlackBerry email, phone, calendar, address book, tasks, memos, browser, instant messaging and other applications that it has developed for its BlackBerry platform.
Devices running the software will be able to connect to BlackBerry services via both the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the BlackBerry Internet Service.
Once installed, the BlackBerry icon will launch the suite of applications in the familiar BlackBerry user interface. The device’s existing Windows Mobile applications are preserved, allowing the user to switch between the Windows Mobile applications and the BlackBerry application suite.
‘Extending BlackBerry applications to a broader range of devices is an important element of RIM’s strategy to provide an open platform that supports industry standards and addresses the various needs of our customers and partners,’ said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO at Research In Motion.
‘This new software will provide a range of important benefits, including easier support of Windows Mobile-based devices within BlackBerry Enterprise Server environments, a consistent user interface for BlackBerry applications across various devices, and the ability to run third-party applications developed for the BlackBerry platform.’
The key advantage to Windows Mobile users will be the implementation of RIM’s BlackBerry ‘push’ technology, which automatically delivers messages and information updates. BlackBerry Internet Service provides push-based email from up to 10 supported email accounts (including most popular ISP accounts), attachment viewing and Web browsing. And BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which can be integrated with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino or Novell GroupWise, provides synchronised wireless access to email and other corporate data with advanced security features and over-the-air IT policy enforcement capabilities.
The software also provides support for BlackBerry Mobile Data System (BlackBerry MDS) allowing organisations to develop their own applications or deploy third-party apps that can run on Windows Mobile-based devices as well as BlackBerry smartphones.
‘RIM’s decision to expand its support for Windows Mobile will resonate well with customers, developers and carriers alike,’ said Carrie MacGillivray, senior analyst, Mobile Enterprise Network Services, IDC. ‘Security, manageability, usability, international coverage, network efficiency, mobile application support, back-end integration and device selection are all important considerations for a wireless platform and RIM continues to invest in the BlackBerry platform on all fronts.’