Responding to the twin pressures of declining domestic sales and the desires of CIOs the world over, Research In Motion (RIM) has announced that it will release a multi-platform upgrade to BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), allowing it to support and manage iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices. As most of you are aware, the most attractive features of BlackBerry reside in their superior security and the ease with which IT departments can (micro)manage them. RIM's announcement confirms what was widely known anyway, which is that these advantages are largely conferred by the BES backend rather than the BlackBerry device itself.
Having said that, managing an iPhone over BES won't instantly make it as secure as a native device. The announcement said as much: "Overall, as is largely understood in the enterprise market today, organisations can expect a range of security, manageability and controls depending on different device platform capabilities, with some devices further limited by the design of their operating system." In other words, we'd still like you to buy a BlackBerry handset, as these will remain the most secure and IT-controllable devices.
The upgraded version of BES will be released "later this year".