Yes, I’m writing about RIM again. I truly respect what this company has contributed to mobile devices and how they have, nearly single-handedly, made mobile email and messaging ubiquitous amongst business professionals. Yet, somehow they appear to be a failing company. I have lost interest in their phones. I have found much better mobile devices. I have found services that replace (mostly) those I relied on with my former BlackBerry and those services have been more reliable than those provided by RIM as of late.
But, I have been missing something.
RIM’s services were better than those I am now using. My last BlackBerry synchronized everything with the Exchange server, basically a full backup of the device, such that no matter what happened I had access to everything regardless of location. If I lost my BlackBerry I could replace it with a new one and everything reappeared on it as though little had occurred. Email, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Password Keeper (secure encrypted password storage), preferences, and more were all ready to go on the new device. I had the security of knowing that if the device was stolen the thief could try to guess my password no more than ten times (or as few as three) before the device initiated a full security wipe to remove all of my information and I had the knowledge that I could perform such a wipe remotely at any time if the need arose. BlackBerry Messenger, a very capable instant messaging service and application solely for BlackBerry devices is still a better overall IM client and service than any other I have used. I love the knowledge that if I have given BlackBerry devices to employees I have the ability to secure those devices to my liking, thus protecting company information from whatever threat may exist, as well as potentially preventing other abuses from occurring.
There is much more, and while a few of these options exist on other mobile platforms, none are as secure, robust, or capable overall as those provided on BlackBerry devices. RIM can and undoubtedly should step in and offer a solution for other mobile platforms.
I am thinking about how impressed people might be if they picked up their Android, iOS, or Windows Phone, and found that they could enable BlackBerry services. Sure, it might be costly to use, likely require a subscription, but the potential for the inclusion of BBM, PIN messaging, BES Email, Documents to Go, secure password storage, additional security features, and a few other core BlackBerry features, even though on a device not made by RIM, would be VERY enticing. If the application suite were developed such that additional security were provided along with limitations on what applications could be installed on the device (and the permissions allowed to them) it would be of potential interest to corporations as well.