With rumors of Unite coming to town and BlackBerry Professional Software soon to establish itself as the solution of choice for small and medium businesses, RIM’s enterprise game is matching the strides its consumer facet has been making with all those shiny new toys. We all know RIM is, at its core, geared towards corporate customers, but the more we see devices like the Curve gain momentum, the line between what an enterprise user is and a consumer user gets blurred. Look at Unite, for instance. It’s easy to take it at face value as a solution for small businesses with 5 employees or less, but really, it’s geared to 5 people or less. That can be friends, family, whatever. As a product, it’s not pidgeonholed to business or personal use. And how about that customer satisfaction survey that noticed the top-selling 3rd.-party app on enterprise smartphones was games? So here’s your question this week: does RIM need to differentiate between corporate and consumer users? If so, how much? If not, how come? Does usefulness need to necessarily be gendered one way or the other, or can the whole issue be circumvented if software and services are developed broadly enough? It’s a tricky question (or not, depending on where you stand), but whoever makes the best case for tearing down the enterprise/consumer wall or building it up will get 3 games from bPlay.
If you’re an admin and aren’t attending the BlackBerry Technical Seminar, for shame. Just kidding, you’re not missing much. All of the new BES stuff was already covered at WES, like rich e-mail support, remote e-mail lookup, native attachment downloading, free/busy lookup, and the Mobile Voice System. The kicker is that most of these features will require OS 4.3.1, meaning anyone packing something older than an 8700 will be out of luck. Beyond that, the recently-announced BlackBerry Professional Service will be available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish localizations, but it will also phase out the existing BES Small Business Edition.