Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) unveiled a new program to get its enterprise customers ready--and signed up--for BlackBerry 10, which RIM will officially unveil Jan. 30. The program, called the BlackBerry 10 Ready Program, is part of RIM's effort to woo both individual consumers and longtime business customers to the new platform, which the company hopes will revive its fortunes.
While RIM is clearly trying to spark consumer interest in BlackBerry 10 through new, high-powered devices and software, the enterprise business remains RIM's bread and butter, in large part because of BlackBerry's widely praised security features. If it is unable to convert a large percentage of those business and government customers to BB10, its new platform, RIM will face an even steeper climb in regaining market share. According to research firm Gartner, RIM saw its global smartphone market share shrink to 5.3 percent in the third quarter, down from 11 percent in the third quarter of 2011.
BlackBerry 10 is a full redesign of RIM's existing BlackBerry operating system. The new platform features a new user interface, BlackBerry Flow, which allows users to scroll seamlessly between apps. BlackBerry Peek allows users to glance at another application without leaving the one a user is currently running. And BlackBerry Hub combines users' various inboxes, messages and notifications. RIM will announce full details of the platform in January.
The company plans to begin selling at least two BB10 devices starting in February on multiple continents; the company has promised to offer one all-touchscreen phone and one phone with a keyboard.
"We remain committed to our enterprise customers and want to provide them with a head start on understanding the power of BlackBerry 10 and preparing their existing environments for the new mobile computing platform," said Bryan Lee, RIM's senior director of enterprise. "The BlackBerry 10 Ready Program gives customers access to a variety of services, information, tools, and special offers to help ease their transition to BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10."
BES 10 will support BB10 new phones as well as older BlackBerry devices.
One element of RIM's program will allow customers who purchase BlackBerry 10 smartphones to trade up their existing BES licenses on a one for one basis for free, until Dec. 31, 2013. RIM also said that it will provide tools and application development services starting in January.
Further, BlackBerry customers with BlackBerry Technical Support at the "Advantage" level or higher will be eligible to receive a free BlackBerry 10 smartphone (though the limit is one free device per company). Customers will need to install and run BlackBerry Mobile Fusion (which will be succeeded by BES 10) and successfully complete an exclusive online learning course to qualify.
RIM is also launching a multi-lingual weekly webcast series designed to share information, answer questions about RIM's enterprise product portfolio and prepare enterprise customers with the tools they need ahead of launch.
- see this release
- see this BlackBerry blog post
- see this Reuters article
- see this Globe and Mail article
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