Can RIM's BlackBerry 10 bring it back from the brink of obscurity?

Can RIM's BlackBerry 10 bring it back from the brink of obscurity?

Summary: In a mobile security challenged world, Blackberry 10 might be just the ticket we've all been waiting for. Could it be that RIM is back in the game? Could be.

Blackberry 10

Go back in time to Summer 2012. I was ready to write off RIM and the Blackberry platform as a part of IT history but not part of IT's future. I was wrong. Yes, there it is; I admit being wrong about Blackberry and RIM. RIM didn't give up and I'm glad that they didn't. I don't own a Blackberry anymore but I'll tell you one important thing about RIM's Blackberry: It's the most secure mobile platform. It's secure enough to gain the US Government's seal of approval.

Is it enough to bring RIM back from the brink of extinction?

I think so, although many industry analysts disagree.

My reasoning goes like this: Security is of utmost concern for businesses. Blackberry devices are the most secure. Therefore, businesses will again adopt Blackberry as the standard mobile phone platform. In fact, I foresee a lot of companies allowing BYOD as long as the "D" that you're bringing into the hallowed corporate halls is Blackberry branded.

Yes, I realize that Blackberry devices only make up about one percent of all mobile devices but that number will grow exponentially when CXOs wake up and smell the sweet aroma of its enhanced security.

Now, you might argue that no one is really hacking Blackberrys since they only have a small market share but think of that market share. Military, government and those who are concerned with security. Great targets for hack attempts, don't you think?

Well, there's a problem. Blackberry comes out of the box more secure than the most hardened version of iPhone or Android that you can produce on your own.

Blackberry Devices have five significant security features that make them the clear choice for anyone who wants or needs a secure mobile platform.

"Blackberry devices only make up about one percent of all mobile devices but that number will grow exponentially when CXOs wake up and smell the sweet aroma of its enhanced security."

  1. Blackberry Password - This is your device password and you set it under Settings -> Security and Privacy -> Device Password. What makes the Blackberry password significant is that unlike iPhone and Android, you can use letters, numbers, caps and symbols, which makes the password almost impossible to guess. An additional security measure related to this password: If you forget your password, you can reset it but it also wipes your device's data. So, you don't have to worry if your device is lost or stolen. No one can steal your data without your password.
  2. Blackberry ID - Kind of like an Apple ID but better, your Blackberry ID remembers all of your settings and apps so switching devices is easy. The security part of the Blackberry ID is that it allows you to protect the parts of your Blackberry that you want to protect.
  3. Blackberry Protect - In the same realm as Apple's iCloud, Blackberry Protect allows you to locate your Blackberry, lock it, play a sound to locate it and wipe it remotely, if needed. If your device is lost or stolen, the culprit has to enter your Blackberry Password to disable Protect. 
  4. Blackberry Balance - Because RIM knows about BYOD, your new Blackberry OS comes ready to serve your personal and your professional lives. You get two workspaces: personal and work. They're separate and distinct entities. And there's no need to fret about Big Brother watching you. When you're not at work, use your Personal phone for anything you want. At work, switch to your Work phone and let the corporate IT storm troopers have their way with it. Blackberry 10 is BYOD ready and BYOD friendly.
  5. Application Permissions - Application Permissions is a security feature that's built in to Blackberry 10 so that you can intelligently manage what things you allow your apps to "see." Location is one example. What if you don't want a camera app to know your location? You don't have to allow it. It's all about how much you want those pesky apps to know about you.

I don't know about you but I'm convinced that RIM has done a good job--make that a great job of creating a secure and a BYOD ready mobile platform.

To RIM: I am glad you're back. Godspeed.

To CXOs: You should definitely consider the Blackberry as the platform of choice for allowing users to share devices between work and personal use.

To BYODers: You should be happy that there's a mobile device that's made to be secure and allow you to use it at work. You now have a fully separate environment--one to play in and one to work in.

What do you think of RIM's newest release of the Blackberry OS and the new Blackberry device lineup? I have to say that I'm pretty darn impressed.

What improvements or changes would you like to see before you'd give up your Android or iPhone? Talk back and let me know.

See Also:

BlackBerry, Nokia: Recovering or collapsing? By the numbers

BlackBerry 10 is the first BlackBerry to fully support BYOD

BlackBerry 10 essentials: What you need to know

BlackBerry 10 and the Z10: 10 things I like and 5 things I don't

Topics: BlackBerry, Mobile OS, Security


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • That's a hard to reconcile alternate reality you percieve there Ken.

    If security was the upmost concern for business they wouldn't be allowing ios devices and certainly no android devices onto their corporate networks today. Not even access to corporate email where hundreds of android malware apps can get at it through your phone or tablet. Like your nostalgic use of the hostorical term RIM though. :)
    Johnny Vegas
    • 2700 corporations disagree

      BB has signed up 2700 North American corporations for their Blackberry 10 Ready program, its clear there is tremendous interest from enterprise managers, for a phone not even on the shelves in the USA this interest is unprecedented.
    • nostalgic?

      It hasn't been years. It's too soon to call it nostalgic. If I use RIM in 10 years, then it's nostalgic. And security should be a primary concern, if it isn't, I would make some heads roll.
      • nostalgic?

        I think he MAY have been referring to the fact that RIM renamed themselves as Blackberry at the end of January.
  • nobody cares

    Cause the big shots want to carry their iPhone trophy devices around-not some utilitarian looking BB device.

    They are more interested in seeing apple improve their systems than in using BB
    • You should take a look ...

      ... at the new BB10 devices - I think they're much more attractive than Apple's devices. They certainly don't look utilitarian.

      Corporations should forget about BYOD and buy their employees secure devices like this, where they can allow the employees to use the devices for non-work activities without any security concerns. BYED (Buy Your Employees Devices).
      By the way, how did it go from being anathema for an employee to use a Corporate device for personal use, to being OK to use a person's personal device for work? Something off-kilter there.
      • BB10

        agree on the work vs personal device debate, wrong way round sometimes?
        • It's all about money.

          BYOD is simply a way of companies forcing workers to buy their tools. Far from them 'allowing' you to use your own device, they are 'forcing' you too - with the unquestioning support of corporate-friendly bloggers. We know whose side they're on :)
    • iPhone a Trophy? You're Kidding, Right?

      The iPhone is what 'everybody' has. BlackBerry has always been the trophy device in the Corporate world. If you had a BlackBerry (company-issued, of course), you had reached a certain status that most others had not. I've seen the iPhone're no BlackBerry! :)
  • Great article

    Didn't know BB had so many advantages over the rivals.
  • Wow I cannot believe there is finally a positive article about Blackberry

    Security should be more important to everyone not just companies, i keep lots of person data on my phone and like to know its secrure.

    I work for a huge company that is in the process of switching to ios, it started over a year ago, long before the release of bb10. this is a funny move because of how much it cares about security. Not too many of the IT staff that are happy about this change, it was pushed down from the top. Have you ever seen management in there 50's trying to work a touch screen only device, its not too pretty.

    In 1-2 years Blackberry will be officially "back"
    • old people cant do a touch screen.

      My 5 year old can work her iphone 4s and 5.
      • Also...

        People who drink a lot of coffee whose hands shake and tremble. (Me) :-)
  • BB 10

    Did not have to read one word of the article, resounding no.
    • Why?

      I value my iPhone 5 and the iOS ecosystem but I am just curious as to your reasons behind your unqualified dismissal of the Blackberry 10. Care to elaborate?
    • Then you missed out

      and have no reason to comment.
  • So excited for bb10!!

    You forgot to mention how businesses love it when bb's network goes down every 6 months. Oh and that awesome security, yes security in knowing the devices you just bought will be unsupported in less then a year when bb goes broke.
    Jeff Heldridge
    • No one is 100% uptime

      Funny how LIVE 365 goes down, gmail goes down, iMessage stops works yet they get a pass? Outages suck and happen with all services. If there was one service that provided 100% uptime I'd pay $$$$ to leverage it.

      This is no different than how any of the mobile devices are supported. Ask how long people are waiting for an updated Android firmware, iPad 1 users getting dumped, Windows Phone users getting thrown under the bus with every OS update.

      Blackberry will be here next year, they only need a small market share to keep making money.
    • Are you a time traveller?

      You must be sending a message of help from the past or something. The last major BlackBerry outage that was actually BlackBerry and not a failure on the part of a carrier was 2011 for 3 days. This was also the single longest BlackBerry outage in the last decade.

      No one has a more reliable NOC then BlackBerry. No one.

      Speaking of 6 months as a time frame, iCloud has had more downtime in the past 6 months then BIS/BES have had in the entirety of their existence.
    • Clueless

      BB10 doesn't rely on BIS or BES. It "supports" it, but trucks on quite nicely without it, thank-you very much.
      If BB10's service goes down, then the service for iPhones and Androids is down too.

      Sorry if I interupted you mid wallow.