Four reasons RIM wants app developers to think BlackBerry, not iOS or Android

With the key launch of its new BlackBerry 10 operating system and handset slated for late January, Research in Motion (TSX: RIM) is making a renewed push to court a key demographic: enterprise developers.

To succeed the existing BlackBerry Alliance Program for enterprise partners, RIM has launched the BlackBerry Partners for Enterprise portal. The free portal (registration is required) gives application developers, software vendors, systems integrators and others access to pre-release hardware and software, plus technical and commercial resources.

The new push top court developers began with the BlackBerry Jam developer conferences, and continues with the new portal and related resources said Gregg Ostrowski, RIM’s senior director of enterprise developer partnerships, in an interview with CDN. With the portal, partners will have access to all the tools they’ll need for the full enterprise suite of RIM products, including BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10, and the code for both the client and server side, so they can build complete solutions for their clients.

“Once they’re a member of the enterprise program they have webcasts to educate them on future products, access to technical development support resources, plus access to early code and ‘dev alpha’ devices for BackBerry 10 so that, when our software comes out, their solutions are ready to be sold to the enterprise,” said Ostrowski. “The goal is to really pick the top set of partners that we can really partner with, and take more of a hands-on approach.”

While he doesn’t have a cap on partners, he said rather than scaling into the many thousands he sees working with a few hundred key partners worldwide.

And when he’s making his pitch to a prospective enterprise applications partner to consider RIM over Android or iOS, Ostrowski said he tells them there are four key elements hat RIM can bring to the table for enterprise developers.

Behind the firewall: With behind the firewall from the Blackberry Enterprise Server to the BlackBerry device, developers can build a secure solution with e-mail and applications to push secure data behind the enterprise firewall. “It’s like a VPN,” said Ostrowski.

Push: Data can be pushed from the server to a device, such as dashboard data that executives should be proactively informed of, without the data leaving the firewall. The data can also remain on the device Ostrowski notes, so that an executive boarding a plane would still have access.

Management: With RIM tools, Ostrowski said applications can be provisioned, deployed and updates from one console, and from behind the firewall, with nothing having touched a public app store.

Standards-based tools: Ostrowski notes that RIM’s platform provides standards-based developer tools based on HTML5, Javascript and C++. “Someone can write an application in HTML5 that will run across platforms,” said Ostrowski.

Thus far, partner response to the new portal and initiatives has been strong, said Ostrowski.

“They’ve been hungering for this kind of access from RIM,” said Ostrowski.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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