Mobile email five years ago and today look very different. While it used to be that RIM and Microsoft were the only game in town, today's mobile email landscape provides robust alternatives because of open standards like CalDAV and CardDAV.
Apple and Google now make up about 80% of all smartphones and tablets sold in the US while RIM's market share keeps deteriorating. RIM's earlier product decisions cornered their customers into a small ecosystem of fully supported mail servers—BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) has long worked only with Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes (RIM later added Novell GroupWise and Alt-N MDaemon). The consumerization of IT didn't help RIM either as corporate users revolted against the constrains of their IT departments.
Kerio has long been an advocate for open standards, and it's time for Kerio Connect to lead the way in mobile email. We were one of the early members of CalConnect, the standards body for CalDAV and CardDAV, calendar and contact synchronization protocols. Pushed strongly by Apple, both protocols have found their way into countless server and client applications, including RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0.
RIM has never warmed up to the idea of working with Kerio, and it made our support for BES less than ideal for our joint customers. Now, it's time for Kerio Connect to part ways with BES. We will remove Kerio Connector for BlackBerry from Kerio Connect within a year.
There are several alternatives for current Kerio Connect customers who plan to stay with BlackBerry in the foreseeable future:
- Kerio Connect offers an IMAP/CalDAV/CardDAV combo, which synchronizes email, calendars and contacts, and this will work with compatible BlackBerry devices and applications (limited to PlayBook OS 2.0 as of today). This option is free from Kerio.
- Kerio Connect also works with AstraSync and NotifySync, two third-party commercial client applications for BlackBerry, to provide wireless email, contacts and calendars on numerous BlackBerry models. Both clients can be installed over the air. This option is quick and perfect for small scale deployments.
- Another option is NotifyLink, a BES-like replacement from Notify, available as an on-premise and hosted solution. Just like BES, NotifyLink is more involved and will make most sense for deployments with larger number of BlackBerry phones in use.
RIM has recently unveiled BlackBerry 10, a new QNX-based OS also known as BBX, which—for the first time in RIM's history—provides Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (except for an ActiveSync pilot project with BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0). It's still to be seen what long-term commitment RIM will make toward EAS.
Obviously, shifting customer preferences drives the list of smartphones and tablets supported by Kerio Connect – so you will continue to see our dev team add new and drop old devices as they gain or lose critical mass and popularity with our customers around the world.
Original article available on our blog.