BlackBerry plans security feature for Android, iPhone

Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:34pm EDT
 
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry will offer technology to separate and make secure both work and personal data on mobile devices powered by Google Inc's Android platform and by Apple Inc's iOS operating system, the company said on Thursday.

The new feature could help BlackBerry sell high-margin services to enterprise clients even if many, or all, of their workers are using smartphones made by BlackBerry's competitors. That may be crucial for the company as it has lost a vast amount of market share to the iPhone and to Android devices, such as Samsung Electronics Co's Galaxy line.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said he expects BlackBerry's device management software to gain traction this year, and boost revenue next year.

"Supporting devices with the best, most secure, and easiest-to-use mobile solution should enable RIM to transform into what we believe is an attractive model," he said in a note to clients.

The offering could help BlackBerry shore up its profitable services business. BlackBerry's shares plunged in December after it said it would change the way it charges for services, cutting fees for customers that do not need advanced security and other enhanced features.

The new Secure Work Space feature will be available before the end of June, and will be managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, the platform that allows BlackBerry's corporate and government clients to handle devices using different operating systems on their networks.

BlackBerry said the feature fences off corporate email, calendar, contacts, tasks, memos, web browsing and document editing from personal apps and content, which could be less secure.

BALANCING ACT   Continued...

 
A woman holds a BlackBerry Z10 smartphone featuring high security Secusite software, used for governmental communication, at the booth of Secusmart during preparations at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover, March, 4, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch