Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has revealed details of the next version of its Blackberry Enterprise Server platform, which it says will be the most flexible to manage to date.
RIM discussed the platform at its inaugural Blackberry Developers Conference in Santa Clara, California, attended by around 900 delegates from across the world.
Codenamed Argon, RIM said the mobile integration platform would be called Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) 5 when it is launched next spring.
Argon is named after the inert gas which is to the far right of the periodic table. Alan Panezic, Blackberry Software vice-president of software product management, said that like the gas, RIM's Argon was stable, non-flammable and easy to manage.
Panezic said, "With this release we are focusing more on easier messaging and collaboration and developing a wider ecosystem of Blackberry developers and software suppliers. We also want to further mobilise key business processes for customers."
To deliver in these areas, RIM has focused on easier deployment and management of users connected by the system. There is multi-level and multi-tiered group support, which allows administrators to more finely tune which applications and services users can get access to from their organisation while on the move.
Although RIM has chosen not to offer native integration with Microsoft Active Directory on launch, BES 5 will see a beta made available for Active Directory integration shortly after launch.
The move will represent an even closer relationship between fixed and mobile enterprise applications management being introduced for Blackberry users.
Ken Schneider, Blackberry Software senior technical director, said of the wider roles-based management inherent in BES 5, "You set up the roles you want - the things your users can and cannot do now run into the hundreds, which gives administrators the flexibility they were demanding from us."
RIM is using a JBoss middleware system to deliver this extra control to customers.
A new product within BES 5 is Blackberry Administration APIs, which is currently available as a beta, and which will be bundled with BES 5 on launch.
The product will help control and automate common admin tasks, said RIM and will be further developed in response to specific requests from customers.
"Forget the command line basis for doing things, this product brings the admin greater flexibility," said Schneider.
See the Blackberry Storm in action below
Panezic said the extra features in BES 5 would "not be monetised" by RIM, they would be offered as integral parts of BES for no extra cost.
This is good news for customers on service agreements who will get upgrades to BES 5 as part of their deals, but others may pay extra.
When asked by Computer Weekly whether a company coming to RIM to install BES for the first time would pay more for BES 5 than they would for an existing version, Panezic said, "Price is something we always decide last and nothing has been finalised so far.
"My advice to those customers is not to wait from October to March to find out. They should get going now and go for an upgrade, as they probably won't lose out."
That may well be a "yes" then.