BlackBerry previews tools for iOS and Android

Plans to extend admin functions to alternative devices

iPhone and Samsung

BlackBerry has provided a preview of tools on BES 10 system for the administration of mobile devices running on Android and iOS.

At the BlackBerry Experience Forum in London this week, Senior Enterprise Product Manager, Stephan Hellerbrand gave BlackBerry customers a sneak peek of the BlackBerry secure workspace apps that will be available on iOS and Android "in the near future".

This adds two apps to the phone; a secure workspace and a secure browser. Users have to authenticate with a one-time password provided from BES to associate the device with their BlackBerry account, and use a password to sign in each time they open the apps. They can see files, email and appointments within the encrypted workspace but not copy them elsewhere.

The secure browser makes it possible to load content from a company intranet and access pages not visible via the public internet by routing them through the secure BlackBerry infrastructure, again encrypting the information and protecting it while it's on the phone.

BES administrators can also deploy apps into the secure workspace from BES 10, for both iOS and Android. Data that's available within the app will be restricted to the secure workspace and users can't save or copy it elsewhere.

Hellerbrand confirmed that the Android apps will run on a range of different handsets. "They will be available on any device regardless of manufacturer," he said.

Balance appeal

Vice President of Security Management Mike Brown told TRPro that having secure storage on Android and iOS should not reduce the appeal of BlackBerry 10 devices, as the Balance feature that divides personal and work information and apps is still more powerful.

"On BlackBerry we can build BYOD ('bring your own device') into the platform itself, we can have all your controls validated by the hardware itself, because we are designing the hardware and writing the OS," he said. "What we will do for the secure workspace on Android and iOS is do the best we can with the APIs that are in the platform."

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On BlackBerry 10, users can see protected business email in the same inbox as their other messages (but they can't copy or save it.

"The keys to providing the best experience are both providing secure data separation and unifying the experience," Brown said.

"I'm only living one life and need to be able to interact with both work and personal information. A unified calendar and PIM are things we can only do on BlackBerry."