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BlackBerry Delivers Cross-Platform Software And Services Blitz At MWC

BlackBerry used Mobile World Congress as a launch pad for an enterprise cross-platform blitz, announcing a bevy of software and services available to iPhones, iPads and devices running on the Android and Windows operating systems.

BlackBerry used Mobile World Congress as a launch pad for an enterprise cross-platform blitz, announcing a bevy of software and services available to iPhones, iPads and devices running on the Android and Windows operating systems.

On Sunday, BlackBerry unveiled plans to create a BlackBerry Experience Suite, including the BlackBerry Productivity Suite, BlackBerry Communication and Collaboration Suite, and the BlackBerry Security Suite. The tools will allow users to secure emails, messages, phone calls and documents across multiple mobile computing environment.

"This is absolutely a good strategy,’ said James Hawkins, president and CEO of RedHawk IT Solutions, a Woodridge, Va.-based solution provider offering mobile solutions. ’I’m glad to hear they are focusing more of their business in the cross-platform space. It’s a positive development that mirrors what others are doing in the industry."

[Related: BlackBerry Partners With Google To Secure Android For Work Devices]

BlackBerry said the services will be delivered later this year and are part of the phone-maker’s strategic shift to grow BlackBerry's core business beyond its own platform and to be known as a software and services company that develops solutions for all mobile OS platforms.

Separately, on Sunday BlackBerry announced as part of its relationship with Samsung that it will integrate BlackBerry’s own WorkLife and SecuSUITE with Knox, Samsung’s mobile enterprise security solutions. In return, BlackBerry will sell the Knox services to Samsung customers and Samsung will sell BlackBerry products and services through Samsung Business Services business portal.

WorkLife allows business users to have separate work and personal phone numbers on a single SIM card, with the billing able to be split as well. The SecuSUITE solution offers hardware-based encryption for voice, data and texting offering organizations such as governments to virtually tap-proof voice and SMS communications that are ’secure enough for world leaders,’ BlackBerry claims.

"Things are moving extremely quickly with BlackBerry, and that’s a good thing," said one BlackBerry partner that asked not to be identified. But is it enough? "BlackBerry has been stagnant for a long time." The partner said that it’s too early to tell if BlackBerry’s current strategy will be enough to steer the company to financial safe harbors.

"BlackBerry isn't quite firing on all cylinders. But when it comes to security and building relationships within the industry, this latest news shows it’s still in the game," the partner said.

Separately, BlackBerry announced a cloud-based version of its Enterprise Server version 12, or BES12. Previously only available as an on-premises solution, BlackBerry said BES12 will now be available as a cloud service freeing IT admin from worrying about updates, installation or infrastructure behind the BES12 software. BES12 Cloud will work with iOS, Android and Windows devices and integrates with Samsung Knox and Android for Work mobile devices, the company said.

BlackBerry also is hoping to make gains within specific industry verticals such as health care. On Sunday, it announced new health-care-specific applications designed to improve healthcare communications, workflow, and patient care. BlackBerry tools include imaging, telehealth and medical reference and screening tools that will all be available for BlackBerry 10, iOS and Android devices.

PUBLISHED MARCH 2, 2015

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