RIM Rolls Out BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0

Yesterday Research In Motion unveiled version 5.0 of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), as the company works to simplify and enhance the connectivity of mobile workers. BES is RIM's behind-the-firewall mobile e-mail, data access and collaborative solution.

BES 5.0, code-named Argon, allows companies to implement push-based features on employees' handsets for tasks such as e-mail, calendar, contacts, and notes, as well as instant messaging and other Web-based applications.

A highlight of the new version is the Web-based Administration Service, in which IT managers can load software updates automatically over the air on workers' handsets rather than servicing the devices in person. Remote servicing could increase time efficiency in enterprises.

In addition, version 5.0 allows users to add or delete server folders remotely from a handset. Enterprises will also have an easier time moving users' profiles from one device to another using the migration tool.

Additional new features include a multi-server architecture that can scale up to 100,000 smartphones—a real boon to large organizations—and the ability to allow users to wirelessly download files from the corporate network directly to their BlackBerry handsets.

BES 5.0 will be available in the second quarter. There's been no world on pricing.

The first BES solution hit the market in 1999 as a desktop redirector, where it routed encrypted e-mails from the desktop to mobile devices. Customer requests drove innovation, and soon the company introduced a product that worked with laptops and a robust server version.

According to RIM, consumer requests have always played a major role in the software's development. Once customers had e-mail pushed to them, they also wanted data pushed from other apps, like calendars and to-do lists.