03:40 PM

BlackBerry Maker Looks To Ease Mobile Software Development

Research In Motion plans to release BlackBerry MDS v4.1 in late 2005. BlackBerrys, which found their way into the workplace via individual employee purchases, are gaining ground as an enterprisewide productivity tool.

Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the popular BlackBerry device, says it's working on a next-generation data system that companies can use for easier development and deployment of mobile enterprise applications.

BlackBerry MDS v4.1 will be provided to some customers for beta testing beginning later this month, and it's slated for general availability in late 2005.

BlackBerrys, which typically have found their way into the workplace via individual employee purchases, are gaining ground as an enterprisewide productivity tool. In the past 12 months, Research In Motion has nearly quadrupled its BlackBerry shipments and has expanded outside North America, according to recent Gartner report.

With its new data system, Research In Motion hopes to expand the use of BlackBerrys beyond E-mail communications. BlackBerry MDS v4.1 will offer added services and tools to make it easier to develop wireless applications.

The system will provide support for automatic integration of BlackBerry devices with enterprise applications and back-end systems, including XML Web Services, according to Research In Motion. It also will offer centralized deployment and management of mobile apps.

Research In Motion is collaborating with other vendors looking to integrate MDS v4.1 into their products. For example, Sun Microsystems and Research In Motion have partnered to build a product for mobile Web services, according to David Bryant, senior director of marketing for application platform products at Sun. BlackBerry MDS has been tested and proven to work with Web services running on Sun's Java Enterprise System Application Server.

BlackBerry MDS v4.1 also will provide additional choices and new capabilities to customers wishing to access applications via a BlackBerry while on the road, according to Pat Sueltz, president of global operations for Salesforce.

Blackberry MDS v4.1 is scheduled for preview at this month's Wireless Enterprise Symposium 2005 in Orlando.

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