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Rollout: RIM's BlackBerry Connect

The Upshot

BlackBerry Connect extends RIM's popular BlackBerry Enterprise Server software to non-BlackBerry platforms.

While other mobile groupware players have long supported the Palm OS, RIM is just now stepping up to offer services on its still-popular BlackBerry handheld OS.

BlackBerry Connect succeeds in offering a "BlackBerry Lite" experience on the Palm Treo 650. Push e-mail, calendaring and basic device administration is available. This may work for small deployments, but the lack of advanced administration features and full-featured PIM sync will put off many buyers.

Blackberry Connect
Product Information

Take one of the most popular smartphones on the market, Palm's Treo 650. Give it access to one of the leading solutions for mobile groupware, Research in Motion's BlackBerry Enterprise Server. It should make for the perfect marriage, but for BlackBerry Connect for the Treo 650, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

RIM's BlackBerry Connect client permits devices that do not run the BlackBerry operating system to connect to BlackBerry Enterprise Server. BES, in turn, allows for push e-mail connectivity to Microsoft's Exchange and IBM's Lotus Domino groupware servers. (GroupWise, which BES supports, is nevertheless unavailable on the BlackBerry Connect client). The end-user experience, which looks and feels like the native BlackBerry environment, also resembles that of competing products from Good Technologies, Nokia and Sybase. But BlackBerry Connect comes up short when compared with native BlackBerry handheld devices that connect to BES. Furthermore, other solutions do a better job with configuration and enforcement of IT policies.

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