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BlackBerry embraces BYOD to win back customers

Adam Bender | March 21, 2013
BlackBerry seeks to win back Australian business from rivals after a late realisation that it must adapt to the growing trend of bring your own device (BYOD), BlackBerry executives said at the BlackBerry 10 launch in Australia.

Android and Windows Phone "are not mobile computing platforms," he said.

However, BlackBerry could not continue to ignore BYOD was bringing those and other rival devices into the office, Heins said. "It's not on us whether we can influence this or not."

BYOD drove many of BlackBerry's decisions with BlackBerry 10 and is the reason why the Z10 phone is a touch-only device, he said. Employees are bringing touch devices into the office and "we had to participate in this trend." Meanwhile, BlackBerry Balance, a feature of BlackBerry 10 that divides the phone interface into personal and enterprise sections, is aimed at BYOD workers who want to keep work and play separate, Heins said.

The company requires organisations to buy its official mobile device management (MDM) service, BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 10, to take advantage of some of the more advanced features of BlackBerry 10. Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney has criticised that approach as discouraging potential customers that have already invested in another vendor's MDM.

Heins said BlackBerry will continue to compete in the MDM segment.

"We don't just look at this from the perspective of being the best management system for smartphones, but we look at this like we need to build an established base of mobile computing end point management," he said. "You will see this MDM solution evolve to that stage."

Meanwhile, a speedy release cycle will be required to compete with rival manufacturers, Heins said. Samsung this week announced a new Galaxy S smartphone about 12 months after the last.

"The life cycle is pretty much the same in the industry and ... innovation is dramatically fast in our industry," Heins said.

"Part of the design [of BlackBerry 10] was to be able to upgrade it in way shorter cycles than we normally do."

Heins would not say whether a new BlackBerry tablet is in development, but explained his approach to that form factor were there to be one.

"A tablet in my view is a very difficult business," he said. "If I build a tablet, I will not build it for the hardware purpose... I will do this around a service ... value proposition."

"We are running a few projects" to assess "how we can take it to the next stage and not just be another tablet."


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