RIM improves Blackberry management and Palm OS support

The latest version of Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry Enterprise Server software will make it easier for users to connect to...

The latest version of Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry Enterprise Server software will make it easier for users to connect to their corporate networks and will also improve the security of those connections.

Corporate users are flocking to BlackBerry devices to access their corporate e-mail servers while on the move.

Shipments of the devices are growing faster than any other segment of the PDA market, according to recent research from Gartner.

The BlackBerry Enterprise Server Version 4.0 allows IT departments to deploy the devices without having to synchronise them in a cradle and manage policies and updates over the life of the device, RIM said.

Security will also get a boost with the adoption of AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). AES is a powerful 128-bit encryption technology that has been designated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a replacement for the existing DES (Data Encryption Standard) security.

"This is a roll-out that has been a long time in coming," said Alex Slawsby, an analyst with IDC.

RIM competitor Good Technology's latest software supports AES and also allows for cradleless updates and profile management, a key feature that IT managers want in a wireless e-mail product.

"If you're going to manage a large enterprise roll-out, it needs to be designed for extremely efficient oversight," Slawsby said.

In large enterprises, IT departments cannot afford to send a staff member around to each BlackBerry user every time a piece of software needs to be updated, he said.

RIM's improved software should help attract customers who had been considering Good Technology's products, Slawsby said.

Corporate e-mail will also be available for Palm OS users when BlackBerry Connect for Palm OS arrives in the second half of this year.

PalmSource and RIM announced last year that they would bring a version of the BlackBerry software to Palm OS users, and the two companies finalised that agreement this week.

Palm OS licensees will be able to include the wireless e-mail software on PDAs later this year.

RIM has moved more aggressively in the past year to license its software to other manufacturers such as PalmOne and Nokia as well as operating system providers such as Microsoft and Symbian.

In the long term, RIM's best prospects lie with the smartphone community as the world migrates to those devices, Slawsby said.

PalmOne's Treo 600 is one of the most popular devices within that group right now, he said, adding however, that Symbian and Microsoft-powered devices have the most potential.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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