RIM looks to tap into SMB market

Tailored wireless communications and collaboration package

Research In Motion has launched a new wireless communications and collaboration package specifically designed and priced for the SMB (small to medium business) market.

BlackBerry Professional Software is based on BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which is traditionally used by large enterprises and government institutions. However RIM has "streamlined and tailored" the new offering to provide the SMB community with an "enterprise-grade mobility solution."

BlackBerry Professional Software boasts tight integration with Microsoft Exchange or IBM Lotus Domino, allowing synchronized access to email, contacts calendars, notes and tasks. It also has a small footprint, as the software can be installed on the same server as the email system.

RIM has included a pre-install assistant utility to ease any installation worries. This utility performs a technical assessment of the environment and recommends a suitable configuration. The Blackberry Manager interface meanwhile has been simplified to allow for easy management options, including the ability to add or delete a user, and set up pre-defined IT policy templates.

BlackBerry Professional Software also uses the same certified security architecture and encryption system as the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Flexibility has also been included with Blackberry MDS (Mobile Data System) Support, which allows customers to extend internal applications to mobile employees, or use any of the thousands of third party applications developed for the BlackBerry platform.

"We specifically designed BlackBerry Professional Software to provide a more simplified and affordable solution for small and medium-sized businesses, while maintaining industry leading performance, security and control," said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO at Research In Motion.

BlackBerry Professional Software is available for download here, and priced at US$499 for 5 users, and US$849 for 10 users. Either package can be expanded to support up to 30 wireless users with the purchase of additional standard Client Access Licences.

BlackBerry Professional Software can also be upgraded to BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

There is currently a special introductory offer running (until the end of November at least) for customers who purchase any 5 new BlackBerry smartphones. They will be eligible to receive a 5-user BlackBerry Professional Software package, valued at US$499.

Back in the summer RIM launched a new BlackBerry (8820) that can work on both cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

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