Motorola releases mobile device management software

New software can control iPhone and Android devices as well as peripherals, but not BlackBerrys

Motorola has launched a device-management software platform aimed at IT managers that works with a variety of brands, but excludes Research In Motion devices like the BlackBerry.

The Mobility Services Platform 3 product provides end-to-end management of mobile devices as well as printers, credit card readers and other peripherals, according to Motorola. The software will cost $45 per device per year, with discounts available for large volume customers.

The software is designed to let IT managers schedule automatic updating for the various operating systems, firmware and applications in use while gathering important data on where and how devices are being used for devices with integrated GPS systems.

The product will be targeted at Motorola's traditional verticals, including health care, retail, transportation logistics, warehousing and manufacturing, said Motorola Director of Global Product Marketing Sheldon Safir.

"It eliminates the need to call things back from the field or manually upgrade them because thousands of pieces can be upgraded remotely at the same time," he said. "We bring the addition of incorporating consumer devices that are coming into the enterprise space and the ability to manage them using the one software.

"This also incorporates some integration with our air defense platform that monitors, tracks and manages the wireless infrastructure," Safir said.

The software will eventually be made compatible with BlackBerry devices, Safir said, but could not provide a date for when this would be done.

"It can control Apple devices and Android devices," he said. "We've seen more iPhones and Android devices make inroads into the areas we sell our Motorola products. We'd like everything to be Motorola, but we realize that's not feasible."

Motorola's solution is mainly aimed at its existing install base, said independent analyst Jack Gold. The new software's lack of RIM support is not a major problem, Gold said.

"Frankly, there's very little Motorola could do to enhance what [BlackBerry Enterprise Server] already does in enterprise," Gold said. "What they should do and will do over time is integrate with some of the APIs so there can be a common console."

"Motorola is adding Android and iPhone because people are moving in that direction," Gold added.

Gold said there were already solutions on the market that performed a similar task at similar prices and claimed customers would only move if Motorola's solution could migrate users cheaply and simply.

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