HP and RIM Partner on BlackBerry Printing and Management

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Despite Research in Motion‘s recent push into the consumer smartphone sector, for years BlackBerries have been the perferred smartphone for corporations, enterprises, governments, and an assortment of other white-color organizations. Now, RIM is partnering with Hewlett-PackardP to fortify and enhance BlackBerry use in large organizations. The deal will include the development of HP CloudPrint for BlackBerry—which will enable users to print via a BlackBerry via the Internet—and a host of BlackBerry management tools aimed at letting enterprises control and manage roaming herds of BlackBerry devices. RIM has also taken the wraps off BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0, which adds a raft of management features aimed at large organizations.

“RIM and HP are working together to deliver solutions to customers that weave mobility into their daily operations—from innovative new services in the cloud to managed mobile services for the enterprise,” said RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie, in a statement. “Through our collaboration with HP, businesses will have access to an expanded set of applications and services for their BlackBerry smartphone deployments.”

HP CloudPrint will enable users to print from their BlackBerry smartphone to the nearest printer via the Internet. The service will be printer-agnoistic and driverless—meaning there’s a chance it might even work on non-HP printers—and should work for users of BlackBerry Internet Service as well as BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

HP Operations Manager for BlackBerry Enterprise service is aimed at helping organizations monitor and manage BlackBerry devices within their organizations, and includes mail and database services, Active Directory, and end-to-end management of BlackBerry applications—and, of course, HP is pitching its Proliant servers as a perfect platform for BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

BlackBerry Management Server 5, now available for Lotus Domino and Microsoft Exchange, adds support for features like accessing Windows network file shares, better management of distribution lists, enables administrators to push mandatory applications to smartphones (or ban other applications entirely), along with a Web-based administration interface.

The announcements perhaps offer some comfort to RIM’s core corporate and enterprise market, who may have become concerned the company was abandoning vertical markets and instead focusing on the growing consumer smartphone market. And, eventually, some of these services will trickle out to consumers as mobile operators compete to attract smartphone buyers.

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