Barcelona, 3rd March: Anticipation was high around our Tuesday media event at the Inbisa Tower overlooking Mobile World Congress’s main convention hall, the Fira Gran Via. Despite the many competing events inside the Expo, more than 100 media and industry analysts turned out at our breakfast event, which covered both our many announcements related to our cross-platform, enterprise software strategy, to our 2015 device roadmap.
Recapping some of the announcements we’d made starting Sunday, CEO John Chen’s keynote focused around a number of areas. First was around the execution our cross-platform enterprise strategy. This includes partnering with Samsung on its Knox platform and supporting Google’s Android for Work. Additionally, recent enhancements to BBM tightly integrate it with Android and improve usability.
“We’re committed to software as a business,” Chen said.
No surprise then that Chen emphasized the ongoing expansion of our enterprise software portfolio. The new BES12 Cloud makes it easier for companies, especially small-to-medium-sized ones, to secure their iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices.
In line with our enterprise software focus, BlackBerry is targeting several regulated industries that value security highly. One is healthcare. BlackBerry has recently announced 8 new healthcare apps and 5 customers using those solutions, said Chen.
One is Hirandani Hospital of Mumbai, India. Dr. Pavan Kuman of Hirandani explained how a new telemedicine app running on BlackBerry devices developed by UST Global can help doctors diagnose rural patients remotely, avoiding long, costly travel for both parties.
From left: Gilroy Mathew of UST Global, Dr. Kuman of Hirandani Hospital, and Mark Wilson, Chief Evangelist, BlackBerry.
Learn more about the telemedicine app here.
BlackBerry COO Marty J. Beard was joined on stage by Billy Ho – EVP of Enterprise Product and Value-Added Services (VAS), Hans Christoph Quelle, Managing Director and Senior Vice-President, Secusmart (division of BlackBerry), and Greg Wade, Vice-President of the Samsung KNOX Business group. This Q&A dove deeper into strong security offerings such as Samsung Knox, Vodafone secure call and BES12 Cloud solutions.
From left: BlackBerry’s Billy Ho and Hans-Christoph Quelle, Samsung’s Greg Wade and BlackBerry’s Marty Beard.
Followed by this session was an introduction to the BlackBerry Experience Suite by BlackBerry. Ketan Kamdar, BlackBerry head of global devices portfolio, provided details on how the coming BlackBerry Experience suite will take the power of BlackBerry’s productivity, communication, collaboration and security apps – think BlackBerry Hub, BBM, WorkLife, and others – and infuse it across all smartphones and tablets – regardless of operating system.
BlackBerry Director of Product Marketing Jeff Gadway (above) gave a live demo of how WorkLife’s ability to split work and personal billing can help companies beset by BYOD. The split billing is not just limited to voice calls but also data usage.
BlackBerry’s 2015 Device Lineup
BlackBerry President for Devices and Emerging Solutions Ron Louks (above) then took the stage and made the announcements many had been waiting for: the 2015 device roadmap. First off was BlackBerry Leap (above) – the new 5-inch, HD device featuring 25-hour battery life. At just 275 USD (much less on contract), the Leap targets young career builders, especially outside of North America and Europe, who want to make a difference. Read detailed blogs and watch introductory and how-to videos for the BlackBerry Leap here.
Louks also announced and showed off the BlackBerry Classic (above) in new colors such as White, Blue and Bronze. This adds to the well-reviewed black model available today on Amazon, and carriers such as Telus, Rogers, Verizon Wireless, AT&T and many others.
A new high-end device is also being designed in partnership with Porsche Design. This device is code-named ‘Keian’ in memory of Keian Blundell. Read more of his story here.
Ron also pulled a surprise by briefly showing off a new phone – a curved touchscreen Slider (see above, or this picture at CNET). Like other recently-announced phones from other makers, this model features a dual-curved touch display to show extra information to users, as well as a keyboard, while maintaining svelte proportions.
Read coming media reaction to our launch and read all of our coverage at Inside BlackBerry and BlackBerry for Business blogs.