Last year we brought you news that RIM was developing BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, a software solution that brings BlackBerry-stye device and software management to iOS and Android phones. There was little information at the time on when BlackBerry Mobile Fusion would be getting a public release. Today, though, RIM announced that the software is finally available.
Despite RIM's ongoing struggles against iOS and Android in the consumer market, they have maintained a relatively strong presence in the business market. That's due mainly to the fact that BlackBerry offers enterprise customers easy, integrated solutions for managing the mobile devices used by their employees. BlackBerry offers corporate IT departments tools for managing software implementation, deployment, and security for employees' mobile devices.
Unfortunately for RIM, most employees are also consumers, and have begun to prefer Android and iOS devices to BlackBerrys, threatening RIM's formerly secure position atop the corporate mountain. Unfortunately for IT departments, Android and iOS don't offer the same level of control and security they have become accustomed to (though even IT professionals are starting to show a preference for iOS). Moreover, the use of multiple devices on one corporate network presents its own issues.
That's where BlackBerry Mobile Fusion comes in. It's a mobile device management (MDM) software platform that allows IT professionals to handle not only BlackBerry phones and PlayBook tablets, it also works with both smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android. The Universal Device Service feature allows admins to manage iOS and Android devices from the same interface they use to manage BlackBerry devices.
The software also features BlackBerry Balance technology. With balance, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion creates a secure file system on the devices where business-related information is stored. This keeps business data separate from personal data, keeping it secure while allowing employees more freedom to use their device in both personal and work environments. Unfortunately for iOS and Android users, it appears to only be compatible with BlackBerry phones and tablets.
All in all, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion appears to be a pretty impressive bit of software. What's more, it may give a hint about RIM's future as a company. After a dismal fourth quarter, the company announced some changes that seemed to suggest that they were abandoning the consumer smartphone market. They denied this, saying that they were not actually leaving the consumer market, but aiming at a narrow segment of it. The plan, they say, is to focus on BlackBerry's core user base: business consumers. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion may be the first step in that process. What's more, it could be an early sign that RIM may eventually transition into a company that focuses primarily on software for mobile business. If so, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion could be a solid first step along that path.
Here's a video of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion in action. Check it out, then let us know what you think in the comments.