Research In Motion has updated its smartphone service for noncorporate users, and the 2.6 version of the BlackBerry Internet Service includes additional security and third-party e-mail support.
BIS comes with each smartphone that's activated with a data plan, and it gives individuals or small businesses access to up to 10 e-mail accounts, and includes BlackBerry Messenger and calendar-syncing services. One of the new features with the 2.6 version is the ability to display password characters while configuring e-mail setup. This could come in handy on devices like the BlackBerry Pearl that utilize RIM's SureType keyboard.
The 2.6 version will be able to integrate with Google's Gmail using Internet Message Access Protocol, and it provides one-way synchronization of read status, sent items, and deleted items. Additionally, this will eliminate sent messages appearing as received e-mails on the handset. In order to get these improvements, users have to remove and reintegrate their Gmail accounts, RIM said.
BlackBerry users also will be able to change their e-mail signatures via a WAP browser, and the service has improved error messages. Third-party accounts also can send unique PIN messages with instructions on how to best integrate with the user's BlackBerry.
The upgraded BIS is just another way that RIM is strengthening its consumer services, as the casual market makes up more than 40% of its subscriber base. The company is readying an App World that will provide an over-the-air way for smartphone users to browse, download, purchase, and install mobile programs. The company is hoping to mirror the success Apple had with its iPhone 3G and App Store.
Mobilizing your workforce with smartphones can lead to productivity gains, but IT departments must pay attention to security. InformationWeek wrote an independent report on how to lock down data on the go, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).