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BlackBerry Balance - The Real Reason To Buy It

The BlackBerry Z10 is a good phone, but it doesn't get really cool until you use it as both your work and personal phone. BlackBerry 10 has a series of features the company calls "BlackBerry Balance," to make both roles work well and to protect each from the other.

My recent first impressions story on the BlackBerry Z10 was typical of BlackBerry 10 reviews you'll see: I used the phone as a consumer user would — not as BlackBerry has designed it to be used by a business user.

Many non-business users have BlackBerry phones, especially abroad, but in the U.S. what's left of it is basically a business phenomenon. Sure, there's music and a great camera and all that in the new BlackBerry 10 devices, but the point is to make it attractive to business users. BlackBerry doesn't stop there.



InformationWeek's Fritz Nelson spent a week with a BlackBerry Z10. Click here to find out if he's tossing his Galaxy S III for it.

BlackBerry devices under management by a BES 10 get BlackBerry Balance, a separation of work and personal use of the phone. In the image on this page you can see the buttons with which to choose the Work or Personal "perimeters," as BlackBerry calls them. Somewhat faded below, you can see the apps from the Work perimeter. You are required to set a password for access to the Work perimeter and this may be different from the device password, allowing you to let someone use the Personal perimeter but not the Work one.

Data in the Work perimeter is secured with 256-bit AES encryption. IT can set policies in the BES to prevent users from copying data between perimeters.

I asked BlackBerry for access to an account managed by a BES 10 so that I could test Balance. A company official gave me access to an eval account that included email, calendar and other server facilities.

One of the apps in the image is "BlackBerry World - Work." This is a company app store that IT can set up on the BES. Apps in that store can be secured using BlackBerry's Mobile Application Management facilities. The apps listed here are not available to users in the Personal perimeter and vice versa.

BlackBerry has announced that iOS and Android devices managed by a BES will get Balance and communications through their NOC, but it has not announced a date for this yet.