We really love the boys and girls over at RIM, but if you haven’t already noticed, they’re pretty much stuck in 1998. Why do we say that? Well, RIM’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis (who is absolutely brilliant) started spewing off his nonsense on data conservation at MWC and how “manufacturers had better start building more efficient applications and more efficient services. There is no real way to get around this.” Oh, but there is, Mike. It’s called actually having a wireless data network that can handle the things consumers and businesses want to do on their phones, and it’s called planning. More →
Big news out of Barcelona today as RIM has announced BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, the software we exclusively told you about a couple of days ago. Simply put, BESX allows SMBs with a Microsoft Exchange or Windows Small Business Server to take advantage of the following BES features without having to splurge on the pricey software:
- Wirelessly synchronize their email, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks
- Manage email folders and search email on the mail server remotely
- Book meetings and appointments, check availability and forward calendar attachments
- Set an out-of-office reply
- Edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files using Documents To Go®
- Access files stored on the company network
Deployment of BESX shouldn’t be much of an issue for most SMBs as the software is compatible with Microsoft Exchange 2003, 2007 and 2010 as well as Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 and 2008. In terms of security, RIM says BESX has “the same robust security architecture found in BlackBerry Enterprise Server” whilst allowing IT admins to oversee over 35 IT policies and controls, including password controls and remote wiping. The BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express software itself will be free, but we’ve been told RIM will charge $5 per user per month. Furthermore, BESX does not need users to be on a BES data plan which translates to even more savings. Pretty damn awesome if you ask us. One huge downside we’ve heard? BESX will not support enterprise activations (OTA deployment).Look for the software to drop next month if all goes well. More →
We’ve been able to independently confirm the following details, though we don’t believe we have all of the information surrounding this announcement yet.
With that said, according to multiple RIM employees, RIM’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis will be making a “huge” announcement on Tuesday in Barcelona. The announcement is said to be about (at least in part) BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express. We’re told this will be relaunched as a free and unlimited user BlackBerry Enterprise Server. You heard that right — a completely free and unlimited user BlackBerry Enterprise Server. We are under the impression BESX will use a user’s existing BIS data plan and not require the more expensive data feature, though this isn’t confirmed. Hit the jump for more! More →
Motorola has been going toe and toe with RIM over alleged patent infringement both here in the US and across the pond in the UK. Motorola’s UK case focused on BIS and BES technologies, claiming that the two messaging systems infringe upon patents that Motorola holds for an RF-based message communication system. In ruling against Motorola, the judge noted that messages from BES servers were not suitable for RF transmission and that RIM’s BIS servers are physically located in Canada and are out of the court’s jurisdiction. In a further blow to Motorola, the court held that there was no inventive step and the patent itself was declared invalid. Sorry Motorola, better luck next time, we guess. More →
Need more proof that Verizon is on the cusp of releasing the BlackBerry Storm 9550? If so, you might want to check out this BES 5.0 flyer that one of our BlackBerry connects just sent us. Aimed towards corporate folks, the flyer lists what a glorious and indispensable business tool the still-unannounced BlackBerry 9550 is when running on BES 5.0. You know, good stuff like follow-up flags, advanced folder management, calendar appointment forwarding, wireless contact sync, document editing with DocumentsToGo and remote file sharing with the Files app. Yes friends, this is hotness personified. Hit the jump for a larger pic!
First announced at WES 2009, Google’s Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server has finally gone live after missing its promised July launch. Free to Google Apps Premier and Education Edition users, Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server allows Google Apps to integrate with BES while eliminating the need for Exchange. Here are the highlights:
- Messages sent to your Gmail inbox are pushed to your BlackBerry within 60 seconds.
- Emails read/deleted on your BlackBerry are marked as read/deleted in Gmail, and vice-versa.
- Emails archived/starred on your BlackBerry are archived/starred in Gmail, and vice-versa.
- BlackBerry folders are synchronized with labels in Gmail.
- You can search for contact information of coworkers from the global address list on your BlackBerry.
- Contacts in Gmail are automatically synchronized with your BlackBerry address book.
- You can view your Google Calendar schedule with the native BlackBerry application, with one-way synchronization from Google Calendar to your BlackBerry device. Two-way calendar sync with the ability to accept, decline and schedule meetings from your BlackBerry device is not available with this release but we are working on it.
- Administrators can use the management and security tools that are part of BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
All in all, Google Apps Connector seems to be a solid Exchange alternative — though we would definitely have a very, very hard time parting with Microsoft’s tried and true solution. Plenty of companies are doing it however, so this is big news for them. Us? We’ll stick to Exchange.
So the keynote didn’t deliver what most people were counting on (read: anything exciting for the average consumer) but nonetheless there was still quite a bit of neat stuff to see. After the keynote, a few meetings with RIM VPs and Managers and a few cans of Diet Pepsi in the press room, we made our way out onto the Solutions Showcase floor to take a look at what the best and brightest third parties had to offer. Here’s a quick recap of some of the stuff that excites us the most.
From May 5 to 7 in Orlando Florida, RIM will will be hosting Wireless Enterprise Symposium or WES. While BGR will be there on the floor for the entire convention bringing you the latest BlackBerry news as it happens, we thought we’d give you all a little bit of a taste of what we know/believe is to come.
First off, expect to see the 8900 Curve make an appearance courtesy AT&T. As many people on AT&T who are running unlocked 8900s by now already know, the official AT&T service books have been pushed out which means that AT&T is doing the final prep work for launch. More notable and more exciting will be the official acknowledgment of the BlackBerry 9630 codenamed Niagara.
Yesterday we reported a major data outage plaguing BlackBerry users across the country and while certain regions seem to be back in action today, many BlackBerry users are still left wondering when their service might be restored. Issues in the southern region reportedly resulted from the severing of a fiber line but that can hardly account for the massive outages experienced all day long, spanning from coast to coast. We’re still waiting for word on possible causes but while service has been restored for many BlackBerry users at this point, many more are still left without data. We spoke to our pals at AT&T, one of the carriers whose customers are still affected, and information was scarce at best. All they could tell us was that BES is still down for many, it’s a RIM issue and RIM’s engineers are “working on it”. We know several areas of the Northeast are still without service, including many in the New York / New Jersey region, but AT&T claims only enterprise customers are still affected at this point.
Unfortunately for those still without data, all you can do is wait patiently for service to be restored and try to maintain your indoor voice when calling and asking for a credit on your bill. Remember, this is a RIM issue so there really isn’t anything carriers can do. We’re well past the 24-hour mark, making this one of the more serious outages in recent history and at this point all we can say is… Step it up RIM! Drop us a line in the comments and let us know if you’re back in business or still twiddling your thumbs.
Back in July, Nokia announced that it would be discontinuing development and support for its BlackBerry Connect solution. For those who aren’t familiar with the application, or who can’t decipher its purpose from its straight forward moniker, it essentially allowed S60 handsets to communicate with BlackBerry servers. While it only offered basic functionality such as email, BlackBerry Connect was the only option for S60 fans whose companies made use of BES. The announcement that the app and service had been discontinued left a bad taste in many mouths as users wondered how Nokia could bail on BlackBerry Connect when its native email and PIM options were so lacking. Worry not however, as RIM is gearing up to grab the reins and steer the ship in a new direction. According to head of Nokia Messaging Tom Furlong, RIM is working on its own solution that will become available soon. Furlong seems to welcome RIM’s offering, a stark contrast from Nokia’s competitive position back when it initially dropped BlackBerry Connect in July. Apparently as long as RIM is doing the grunt work, Nokia is happy to welcome BES support on its Symbian handsets. Whatever the case may be, S60 users can look forward to a refreshed BlackBerry connectivity option, courtesy of RIM, in the near future. Wouldn’t it be sweet if RIM decided to go the BlackBerry Application Suite route on S60?
It’s been a while since we gave the world its first look at BlackBerry OS 5.0, and now a list of available enhancements for BES users has surfaced. As long as everything is set up properly on the server-side of things, users will finally be able to have some features that they have long desired. In the past, to add, delete or edit a folder, one would have to do so through a computer. With 5.0 however, it will be possible to do this from the device. Users will also be able to store personal contacts separately from business contacts without having to resort to filters. Calendar options will have the option of being forwarded and sharing documents and media will be able to done through the Files application. On the Visual side of things, RIM is apparently working on a way to make emails sent from devices look as they would if they were sent from Outlook. As for when OS 5.0 will be made available, no one really knows but there is speculation that it will be acknowledged during Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) in April. Anyone taking bets?
After an extensive series of betas and intense testing for bugs, stability and security, BoxTone is ready to announce the general availability of its self-service BlackBerry app, myBoxTone Expert. MyBoxTone Expert can be considered a silent “guardian angel,” if you will, for your BlackBerry smartphone. The application runs in the background and will notify you of any problems with your device before they become serious issues. When myBoxTone Expert finds a problem, it will help you to resolve the issue with a clear, simple, step-by-step process that will allow practically any user to remedy the problem on his or her own. If the issue goes beyond what the user is capable of resolving, myBoxTone Expert offers remote troubleshooting and assistance which quickly resolves the problem. Businesses that manage a number of BlackBerry handsets would benefit greatly from myBoxTone Expert because of its ability to fix problems quickly and conveniently. Long story short, even the most evil IT Managers in the world can’t help but crack a smile when the board finally approves that myBoxTone Expert requisition…
We figured that instead of making you comb the internets trying to hunt down the latest information on the BlackBerry Storm, we’d compile a nice recap of sorts. Some of it is new exclusive information, and some of it is just other things that have been floating around. Let’s get into it…
- We’ve heard that Vodafone UK has absolutely no intention of selling the Storm to BES users until 2009. We’re not exactly clear on this (since the two Vodafone Storms we have were converted to a business BES account after purchase), but we believe it means that there will be no direct-to-business sales of the handset. Not that you couldn’t as an individual purchase one and simply add a BES plan and convert it to a business account. We’re told that the reason of the hold-up is that Vodafone is worried the device, with the on-going hardware and software issues, isn’t up to snuff for their corporate users.
- For more information on the issues with the Vodafone BlackBerry Storm, hit Vodafone’s forum. You’ll see an enormous amount of complaints about signal reception, buttons falling off, and software issues.
- BlackBerry Storm OS 18.104.22.168 seems to be floating around in some circles. There’s been a ton of misinformation out there, but the update appears to be real, and is currently NOT — let’s stress the word, “NOT” — available to the general public. As many times as you might try to check for updates in Desktop Manager or in the Upgrade portion of Options on your device, you won’t get anything at the moment. We’ll obviously keep you updated on this, but don’t get your hopes up just yet.
- Some BlackBerry Storm users have complained about the difficulty of pressing edges of the touch panel on their devices. It’s a mixed bag, and out of the five Storms we’ve had, two were perfect and three were terrible. We noted this in our review, and the remedy seems to be inserting business cards or paper (you believe this?) underneath the battery or on top of the battery under the battery door. Don’t bother. Just return them and get them swapped out. It’s not your problem, it’s their problem.
- In terms of unlocking the BlackBerry Storm, you’ll have a much easier time getting the unlock code from Verizon. It’s rather simple, really. As long as you have an account that is current with no past due charges and the device on your account, you can call Verizon’s Global Support number and request an unlock code for the handset. Nine times out of ten they’ll give you the code while you are still on the phone. Easy. As. Pie.
Read [BGR's BlackBerry Storm review]
Read [Vodafone's eForum]