Research in Motion, manufacturer of the BlackBerry device and operating system are currently testing the third-leg of their 'mission' on tight security.
BlackBerry Protect is currently in beta and works on two levels: the device application which manages backup's and restoring data to and from the device to RIM's secure cloud, and the web portal which allows device owners to manage their backups and use utilities to recover their phone if lost or stolen.
BlackBerry Protect is guilty of this, but in a very good way. Research in Motion prides itself on its security. If I could pick out the three pillars of its integral security and privacy protection - even in spite of the recent India, Saudi Arabia & United Arab Emirates vs. Research in Motion kerfuffle, it would be the following.
The third comes in two halves. BlackBerry Enterprise Servers have Exchange-like properties which can remotely manage IT policies and wipe devices over-the-air. Ordinary consumers of BlackBerry Internet Service now have BlackBerry Protect which acts in very much the same way. This consumer focus is the second half to the third pillar which creates a triangle of almost infallible strength.
So what's so good about it then? (All links below will open a new window/tab to the specific area detailed in the screenshot gallery).
The portal though allows you greater access to features to help you recover your phone if lost, stolen or misplaced. It includes a locate feature which remotely (still over-the-air) turns on the GPS on your device and displays as accurately as it can where your phone is on a map. If your BlackBerry doesn't have a GPS line of sight to the satellites, location aiding will be used and it still gives you a ballpark idea of where you phone is hiding.
It can blank out your BlackBerry's desktop wallpaper with a bright red background and a customised remote message to offer an incentive to whoever finds it. You could ask for it back, leave your mobile number on the screen, or if you are extra cautious you can remotely lock your device with a password too, to really protect your device.
Have you ever left your phone lying around and your little kid has picked it up and hidden it? You could ring it of course, but because it's the weekend you put your BlackBerry on 'silent'. The portal has an option to initiate a loud ringwhich changes your profile to the 'loud' setting and lets off the default ringtone. It will stop ringing once you mash the keyboard/screen of your phone after you honed in on it.
And as you would expect, the dual-key system to the nuclear missile launch-like system includes a very own device kill-switch; just as Enterprise Server users will have and those using Windows Mobile and Exchange have had for years.
So far, so good. It's stable; written by BlackBerry developers who also work on the operating system, so increased reliability and better coding of the program. It works on Bold 9650, 9700, 9000, the Storm series, and any BlackBerry device with OS 4.6 and above - including the Curve 8900 which I tested it on.
The application is still in beta and is not due out for a while yet. The beta program is still closed but you can sign-up to try and test it as and when it becomes more widely available later this year. BlackBerry Protect is expected to be free, and could well be installed as part of the operating system in due time.