BlackBerry sets out plans for BES12

Next version of mobile device management suite due before the end of the year.

BlackBerry has detailed its plans for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12), the next version of its mobile device management software.

The company said BES12, which will combine its BES10 and BES5 software into one platform, is slated to arrive by the end of 2014, with an early adopter programme opening up in the summer.

The company said BES12 will offer improved service management, allow highly-scalable datacenter-grade deployments, and implement active-active high availability clusters for improved reliability. It will add support for Windows Phone 8 in addition to iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10, and allow customers to move from on-premise to cloud deployment.

While enthusiasm for the company's handsets has waned in recent years — its BlackBerry 10-powered devices have not been the hit it had hoped for — the company still sees BES as its crown jewels .

Even though BlackBerry has started talking about the next version of its device management software, it is still in the process of encouraging customers to upgrade to BES10: in December the company said customers have installed nearly 30,000 BES10 commercial and test servers around the world. The company has around 80,000 BES customer and, according to BlackBerry, BES12 will be architected to make it easy for them to migrate.

Despite a difficult few years, the firm still has a number of loyal enterprise customers: for example Europe's second largest car manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen recently confirmed it is to provide 10,000 Z10 smartphones to staff in France and Spain and is moving BES10.

The company has also streamlined the pricing for BES10 into two packages: silver and gold. Silver includes full device, application, email and security management for BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices, including BlackBerry Balance. Gold adds BlackBerry's Secure Work Space for iOS and Android, and additional security features.        

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