John Chen pushes BES12 as Android for Work platform

BlackBerry may be heading for the breakthrough it needs under the leadership of CEO John Chen with a new Google tie-up

BlackBerry may be heading for the breakthrough it needs under the leadership of CEO John Chen with a new Google integration.

BlackBerry will enable the BES12 server to support Google’s new Android for Work programme, as part of its cross-platform enterprise mobility management platform.

Android for Work aims to deliver secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, browsing and access to approved work apps that can be completely managed by IT, said Rajen Sheth, director of product management, Android and Chrome for Work.

Using BES12, Android for Work will enable IT departments to create a secure, dedicated profile for business data and applications.

It creates a dedicated work profile that isolates and protects work data. “IT can deploy approved work apps right alongside their users' personal apps knowing their sensitive data remains secured." said Sheth. “People can use their personal apps knowing their employer only manages work data and won’t erase or view their personal content."

According to BlackBerry, BES12 integrates with the Android operating system to enable platform-level containerisation.

It gives users access to Google Now and any Android application available on Google Play that is permitted by an organisation’s IT security policies, according to BlackBerry.

Android for Work smartphones and tablets will be natively managed within the BES12 environment.

Android users will also gain access to BBM Meetings, BBM Protected, VPN Authentication by BlackBerry and WorkLife by BlackBerry.

Commenting on the Seeking Alpha financial site about the integration between BES12 and Android for Work, one user noted: “John Chen is in the midst of another successful turnaround. BB is already cashflow positive after only one year of his leadership, and 2015 will be a watershed for the company as he moves through the last of his 'transitional quarters' in the first half of the year."

While sales of BlackBerry devices have struggled, Chen has tried to refocus the company towards BES12 and mobile software. By giving Android users a secure workplace using BES12, IT does not have to deploy a new mobile device management server for the switch from BlackBerry devices.

But Chen’s transformation of BlackBerry is at an early stage. Apple’s tie-up with IBM last year to provide a line of business applications for iOS has moved the goalposts from device security to using mobile to enable business processes.

Last week, BlackBerry released BlackBerry 10.3.1, enabling Z10, Z30, Q5 and Q10 smartphone users to access Android apps on the Amazon Appstore.

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