RIM: BES 10 to support old and new BlackBerry devices

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) said its next BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) will support legacy BlackBerry devices as well as gadgets running its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.

RIM took the rare step of responding to a media report after the blog BGR that said RIM's next BES system would not support older gadgets, such as BlackBerry 7 devices. Under that scenario, corporations and IT departments would need to run two BES servers simultaneously to support the legacy BlackBerry devices and the newer ones. RIM said that is not the case.

In a statement sent to multiple media outlets RIM said that it is "developing BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 10," which will "support existing BlackBerry devices, including the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and new devices running on the BlackBerry 10 platform." The new BES 10 platform will launch with BlackBerry 10 in the first quarter of 2013, and RIM said that existing BES customers will get an upgrade to the new BES 10 to ensure they can support older and newer BlackBerry devices. BGR later got RIM to confirm that BES 10 will need to be installed in either a virtual machine or a new server in addition to its existing BES 5 deployment.

BES 10 will also use RIM's Mobile Fusion software, which provides mobile device management support for devices running Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platforms in addition to BlackBerry devices.

RIM spokesman Nick Manning told FierceWireless that BES 10 will be able to support multi-server IT environments, in much the same way Mobile Fusion does now. "It should be easier for IT managers to manage multiple servers," he said. "It's not the case that you're going to have a BES 10 server and then also separately manage BES 5. You will do that all with BES 10."

While RIM CEO Thorsten Heins and his lieutenants have been pitching the innovations, including in the user interface, that BlackBerry 10 will bring, the company still needs to maintain the support of its core enterprise users. This especially important given the spate of high-profile companies and agencies--including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration--that have decided to drop the BlackBerry.

Heins will be showing off nearly finished "beta" versions of BlackBerry 10 devices to wireless carriers in the coming weeks as part of a crucial sales effort aimed at getting the operators to back the new platform.

Interestingly, Heins said that RIM will essentially have a "one-two punch" with two classes of BB 10 devices: one that is an all-touch experience and one that has RIM's classic Qwerty keyboard. Within those two types, RIM will offer three different devices, a high-end device, a mid-tier device and a low-end device, for six total. 

For more:
- see this BGR post
- see this CNET article
- see this ZDNet article
- see this separate BGR post

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