While at CES I kept on asking questions from RIM reps on how the PlayBook will fit into the enterprise environment. RIM still has about 50% of their customer base in the enterprise and they are clearly positioning the PlayBook as THE tablet for enterprise use. Here are a few of the key questions I asked about the PlayBook which I think you will find interesting:
The BlackBerry PlayBook will not be provisioned or managed by a BES. From what I was told by multiple RIM reps there will be no IT policy on the PlayBook. This is exactly what I mean about an interesting take on an enterprise tablet. RIM only allows the PlayBook access to your PIM data like your email, calendar, contacts, BBM, and other apps through the BlackBerry bridge and that information is only cached for a short time on the PlayBook. Without a bridged BlackBerry over Bluetooth that information is no longer available from the PlayBook.
This has me wondering exactly how the PlayBook will work for enterprise use. How will enterprise apps access internal corporate resources that are only available through a BES connection? Will it be able to VPN into the corporate network over Wi-Fi to use corporate apps? How will that work for companies if they do not have any IT policies on the device? RIM has quite a few questions to answer for the business crowd before all of their concerns will be addressed but this “bridged” BlackBerry mode addresses most of the lost or insecure confidential data concerns.
Can the BlackBerry PlayBook connect to the internet through your BlackBerry’s cellular connection? This is one I kept on asking over and over again and got different answers. Some responders said they simply did not know while others told me there would be a different bridge beyond the PIM sync bridge that would allow for a Dial Up Networking over Bluetooth connection for your BlackBerry. I could not get any response on if they would have the ability to use your BlackBerrys corporate MDS/BES connection to connect to internal corporate resources from your PlayBook.
What devices will the BlackBerry PlayBook be able to “Bridge” with? I was curious to know if only new devices will be able to “Bridge” over Bluetooth with the BlackBerry PlayBook. So far I have been told that newer OS 5.0+ devices should be able to download the “Bridge” app when it is available and it should work. On the other hand RIM was only showing off BlackBerry Torch 9800s bridged to PlayBooks at CES so I am not sure if that infers OS 6.0+ might be required at launch.
What security will be available on the PlayBook? I found out that there will definitely be password protection on the PlayBook but I could not get any details on content encryption. I am not sure what protections RIM put in place on the content/storage on the PlayBook and if it can be encrypted. They are basing the Tablet OS on QNX which has many secure implementations so I am sure there will be some security but I was not told what encryption would be available.
Anything else you wanted to know about enterprise use of the BlackBerry PlayBook? Let us know in the comments and we will forward the questions on to RIM.