WES 2008 Recap
by Lisa Duke
The Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) 2008, the ultimate BlackBerry conference from BlackBerry solution creators Research In Motion (RIM), was bigger and better this year than ever before. Here are a few of the most exciting tidbits we picked up….
BlackBerry Bold (aka the BlackBerry 9000)
First and foremost, we have to talk about the new device. Training and networking are fun, but it’s really all about the toys, and the new BlackBerry delivers. Named the BlackBerry Bold, the most important thing about this coming-soon device is that there is actually a great browser now! Historically, the browser was there, but unless a site was specifically optimized for BlackBerry, forget being able to see anything. Now, the browser is very iPhone-like. The new browser is Ajax capable and very, very fast.
Other features that stood out were the new keyboard (RIM said this was the best ever keyboard and we agree with them) and the new crystal clear screen, which is spectacular to look at.
For those of you that are telco-savvy, you will be excited to know this is the first 3G BlackBerry. The BlackBerry Bold will be able to load web pages and run internet connected applications like Rapid-Ask by STS, WICKSoft and Rove quickly. While it will not be classes as an iPhone killer, the Bold is at least a worthy iPhone adversary.
For a breathless pre-WES review of this device, check out this article http://crackberry.com/blackberry-9000-smartphone-hands-review .
To be placed on the waiting list for the device, contact Josh Wilson at AT&T (Joshua.Wilson.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Moe Ilyas at Sprint (email@example.com).
New Handheld Software
Ok, so here’s the deal. 4.5 will be the upgrade for all 8000 devices except for the 8707, and is coming summer 08. You want 4.5 because of the features:
Search for Emails that are back on the server
Calendar lookup for invitees
DataViz Docs to Go – view and edit Word and PowerPoint (Excel coming in a later release
Additionally, once the device software has been upgraded to 4.5 and if you have upgraded to BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 4.1.5, future device upgrades can be done over the air, meaning users don’t have to be separated from their BlackBerry smartphones for even a moment. With each specific device having at least four software releases during its life span, this can allow administrators to roll out new features and bug fixes much more easily. If you haven’t upgraded BES, contact STS for a quote on T-Support to get the new software and a quote for the services hours for us to assist!
Additional versions are also in the works, and updates on those versions will be made available in the future.
New Server Software
BES 4.1.6 is coming soon!
RIM previewed BES 5.0 in the usability labs. The biggest changes we saw (and that we can talk about) were around the new browser based management interface and mentions about the new fail over capabilities. There were no specifics mentioned about fail over so details on how that will be achieved will be available later.
Another big announcement – RIM will be hosting a developer conference this fall. The conference is planned for the week of October 20th in Santa Clara, California. Registering at http://www.blackberrydeveloperconference.com will add you to the list to receive updates as they become available. According to a RIM press release, topics planned for this year’s conference include:
- Building Powerful Enterprise Applications on the BlackBerry
- Creating Captivating Applications & Services
- Latest Development Tools
- Rich Internet Application Development
- Integrating Location-Based Services
You can be sure that STS will be represented! If you plan to attend, please contact us for details on the STS-hosted networking event in California that week.
ISVs, Carriers, Clients, Media, and RIM
Several new ISVs made their debut at the WES Solutions Showcase. In fact, there were roughly twice as many vendors in the Solutions Showcase this year over last year, including STS partner WICKSoft. If you are looking for an off the shelf solution, contact STS. We’d be glad to share with you what we found and help you select the correct vendor.
The carriers were well represented, including friends of STS from Sprint and Telus, one of the major Canadian carriers. While the carriers had their own tracks and events, we did get to see many of them during some of the networking events and mixers.
Clients were well represented, too, including government, Fortune 500, and mid-market, and the media (especially the blogosphere) were will represented and have given their own accounts of WES (http://www.blackberrycool.com/category/news/wes-08/).
STS visited with several RIM staffers, including Sprint support team members, our assigned Business Development Rep, and several members of the development team. Meeting the developers was especially exciting for Darren, who enjoyed putting a face to the many names he’s seen responding to his posts on the RIM partner message boards and the beta programs we participate in.
Overall, WES 08 was everything it should have been – a chance to network with others in the BlackBerry community, to learn what’s now and what’s next, and to kick back and get warm in sunny Florida. We look forward to seeing you there next year!
Should your organization require help with any aspect of your design, development, testing, training or implementation please don't hesitate to [contact STS your certified BlackBerry resources.