Today BlackBerry announced that it will soon bring BlackBerry Balance to both iPhone and Android in an effort to bring its secure services to both competitor platforms.
BlackBerry calls the apps BlackBerry Secure Work Space for iOS and Android. The service includes secure apps for email, calendar, contacts, tasks, memos, secure browsing and document editing. BlackBerry links the apps to BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, companies will have to use the latest BlackBerry services to deploy the apps.
BlackBerry claims the apps use BlackBerry Balance technology, which just means they are separate from the user’s personal apps and files. The BlackBerry apps won’t interfere with personal email or calendars. The technology eliminates the need for two phones, one for work and one for personal use.
The BlackBerry Secure Work Space apps will help BlackBerry compete in the era of “Bring Your Own Device,” where users increasingly want to choose their own smartphone instead of relying on work to give them one. It means that companies can still get the security of BlackBerry services without giving employees phones they probably don’t want.
This is good news for just about everyone, but it also begs the question of why BlackBerry insists on pushing BlackBerry 10 with these new apps. Since iOS and Android took over the mobile industry, it seemed strange that BlackBerry continued to push its own devices, now it seems even stranger.
The new service will give BlackBerry leverage against Samsung which recently started taking shots at the company with its Unicorn Apocalypse ads. Those ads say Samsung phones are secure and great for personal use. Now BlackBerry can make almost any phone, including the iPhone, secure.
BlackBerry Secure Work Space is already in closed beta, and widespread availability will begin in the second quarter of 2013. BlackBerry will talk more about the program at BlackBerry Live in May 2013, so the rollout will likely come shortly after that event.