Update: Looks like things are getting a bit complicated. BGR is now reporting that RIM has confirmed to them that admins will need to have both an install of BES 5 and BES 10 to be compatible with older Java-based devices. We’ve reached out to RIM for clarification, but colour us confused.
RIM confirmed today that its next-generation BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 (BES 10) software will be backwards compatible with its current lineup of smartphones and tablets. This is contrary to a report from BGR released yesterday.
There was vocal concern from systems administrators and IT specialists earlier this year when it was rumoured that BES 10 would only interface with the upcoming crop of BlackBerry 10 devices, leaving legacy products in the dark. Having to administer separate BES installations could have proven costly and been less desirable for current customers, causing a marked downturn in new installs or faster migration away from the BlackBerry platform.
RIM has a dire need to win back the hearts and minds of its corporate clients, many of whom are going the BYOD direction and allowing employees to use existing iPhone and Android devices on the company enterprise network. Bring Your Own Device is one of the fastest-growing segments of the enterprise world, with products like Canadian-built SOTI MobiControl allowing secure deployments of email, contacts and calendar across multiple platforms.
While the feature set of BES 10 is likely to be wider when interfacing with BlackBerry 10 products, it’s good to know that existing BB6 and BB7 customers won’t lose too much in the deal. BES 10 is expected to debut with the first BlackBerry 10 devices in early 2013.