Current BlackBerry Enterprise Servers incompatible with BlackBerry 10 devices; RIM to cease development

RIM to license BlackBerry 10

Research In Motion (RIMM)  has had an incredibly difficult time getting QNX-based devices to work with the company’s existing systems. The reason the BlackBerry PlayBook shipped without email and BlackBerry Messenger, among the other missing items, is because a QNX device won’t work on the company’s NOC like the older java-based devices. While email finally came to the PlayBook, the email app is a local client that doesn’t use RIM’s BIS or BES back-end. It will sync with an Exchange server directly and download mail from Gmail, but it is all done on the device and not through RIM’s famous back-end network like every BlackBerry before it. This will continue with BlackBerry 10, as we have reported in the past.

We received word from a trusted source that RIM will be stopping development on the current BlackBerry Enterprise Server platform. We were told RIM plans to end development with version 5.0.3 — and only security patches will be issued after that — but RIM has publicly announced at version 5.0.4. Once that version is released, or soon after, RIM’s existing BlackBerry Enterprise Servers will not receive further updates. And here is where things get tricky…

RIM has a new version of the company’s enterprise server code-named “NG” for next generation, and this BlackBerry Enterprise Server will combine the server itself with Mobile Fusion and support for the BlackBerry PlayBook in addition to RIM’s next-generation BlackBerry 10 devices. No issue then, right? Well… we have confirmed that this new BlackBerry Enterprise Server won’t support java-based BlackBerry smartphones like BlackBerry 7 devices, and we have also confirmed that in order for a corporation to support both devices, they will need to run both servers simultaneously.

For mid-sized and large corporations, this could be a potential nightmare down the road. Additionally, let’s not forget that the new BlackBerry Enterprise Server still won’t handle the majority of features the older server handles such as emails, contacts and calendars, and will effectively be a secure VPN tunnel from the BES to the device, with the server not doing any work.

Research In Motion provided us the following statement:

RIM does not normally comment on rumours and speculation. As we announced at BlackBerry World, BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.4 will be available later this year and we will continue to maintain BlackBerry Enterprise Server well into the future. Research In Motion is a leader in enterprise mobile solutions and we are committed to continuing to innovate solutions that fulfill our customers’ requirements.

UPDATE: RIM published an article on its business blog regarding the use of ActiveSync.

UPDATE 2: After issuing a misleading statement to various media outlets, RIM confirmed the accuracy of this report.

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