RIM ramped-up efforts to maintain support from its enterprise customers, ahead of the introduction of devices using its planned BlackBerry 10 platform.
The introduction of the new OS will see existing RIM corporate customers needing to make some changes to their infrastructure in order to support new devices alongside existing BlackBerry terminals.
While BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 will allow IT departments to manage both new and legacy BlackBerry devices – as well as iOS and Android smartphones and tablets – from the same console, initially a separate server will be needed to maintain the BES 5 support necessary for older BlackBerrys.
RIM has said that an update is planned for May 2013 which will allow BES 10 and BES 5 servers to run on the same physical hardware.
This week, RIM said it will provide qualified customers (with technical support at “Advantage” level or above) with a free BlackBerry 10 smartphone once available, although they will also need to install and run BlackBerry Mobile Fusion (which will be succeeded by BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10) and complete an online learning course.
Initially, this will only be available to customers in North America – RIM said it will “announce as the offer becomes available in additional countries”.
The company is also running a series of webcasts “designed to share information, answer questions about RIM’s enterprise product portfolio, and prepare enterprise customers with the tools they need ahead of launch”.
From early next year, the company will be offering customers who purchase BlackBerry 10 smartphones the opportunity to trade-up existing BlackBerry Enterprise Server licences on a one-for-one basis for free, until December 2013.
And RIM is also set to offer “change management and planning migration tools, and application development services” from January 2013.