RIM Explains How BlackBerry 10 & PlayBook Use ActiveSync

ActiveSync Mobile FUsion

RIM has been detailing exactly how BlackBerry PlayBooks and future BlackBerry 10 devices will connect using ActiveSync for ages. Due to some blogger who must have been confused for the last few years it seems like RIM’s Senior Director for Enterprise Product Management, Jeff Holleran, decided to reiterate the point. People are getting really confused by BlackBerry 10 devices, PlayBooks, and Mobile Fusion making use of ActiveSync instead of the ancient MAPI protocol. The new ActiveSync component in Mobile Fusion is actually a nice improvement over the previous proprietary MAPI protocol in my opinion and has matured quite a bit since its launch.

In a blog post on the BlackBerry BizBlog Jeff Holleran explains exactly how the connection differs from the current BlackBerry Enterprise Server configuration. One of the things I like most about this new implementation using ActiveSync is that companies can make use of Mobile Fusion to replace VPN and not expose ActiveSync to the world while allowing RIM to support many different mail servers beyond Exchange. On the other hand this also allows companies to forgo using Mobile Fusion and simply use ActiveSync while still getting full sync of PIM but not BlackBerry level security.

If you are curious to learn exactly how it all works I highly recommend reading Hollerans great recap of Mobile Fusion, BlackBerry 10, and ActiveSync.

19 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. cool

  2. Supporters of ActiveSync can all thank Apple and Google which have been promoting the protocol for years in hope of gaining ground in the enterprise :). Having RIM onboard is a nice plus.

    I’m grateful that RIM is now embracing that protocol since more and more Open Source solutions offer Activesync connectors, but they should really release a PIM suite for BBOS so that Mobile Fusion can manage both old and new devices.

    I’m also hoping RIM will make BES available on more platforms now that they have the in-house expertise of unix like OS.

    • Samsung Blackjack and Palm Treos many other devices had active sync and came before the iphone or android were even thought of. The idea that you would throw Apples name out out like they played a roll at all was silly. In fact Microsoft could have buried that device permanently if they denied licenses for apple to connect.
      Microsoft took a technology and built it to use all kinds of devices. Likely because they were tired of Blackberry gouging them. If palm had added a phone to the TX model they would have been in the top still.
      Once Microsoft added the ability to add/delete accounts on the fly from exchange connected mobile devices Blackberry was dead. I can still connect my old palm tx use it for a week and update my emails and calendar and its at least 9 years old.

      • Samsung Blackjack and Palm Treos were insignificants.

        Microsoft had no reason to deny licenses to anybody if they wanted their protocol to be adopted, especially companies taking over the smartphone market.

        Look at all the fuss they made when Google announced they would drop their support for the technology.

        So, managing accounts on the fly is BES’ killer feature is it? Activesync would have taken over a long time ago if it was the case. Companies have been trying to get rid of BlackBerry for a long time in order to cut cost first and in order to support more modern platforms second, but the truth is that it’s usually more expensive and less secure to do so.

  3. So, I got a little lost in this article. Hoping someone can help a newbie still learning the ins and outs of the Enterprise communication for BlackBerry. From what I understood in this article, it sounds like Mobile Fusion will still be required with ActiveSync unless your mail server is exposed to the Internet. It seems that this will still leave BB smartphone and PlayBook users at a disadvantage if their corporations do not want to install Mobile Fusion. Is this correct or am I missing something?

    • No if companies do not have Mobile Fusion then BlackBerry 10 devices will use ActiveSync directly (if it is allowed on the firewall) just like any other iOS or Android device.
      Ofutur: They really should be thanking and hating on Microsoft for promoting the protocol and currently letting it stagnate. For example, notice how for years now there is still no way to sync tasks/notes

  4. What about the BlackBerry user, like me, who uses the phone as a personal device, not connected to work, AND syncs the phone to the standalone version of OUTLOOK?

    Is that category of customer going to be left out? I want all 4 sections of the PIM to be synced.

  5. Your outlook is connected to a mail server. Your phone is just going to be another client. In order to be able to sync everything, you just need to make sure that your mail server supports activesync.

  6. Thank-you for the explanation! I don’t “like” the answer, though. From what I’ve read here, ActiveSync is not a complete or acceptable solution IF it won’t sync TASKS & NOTES.

    Will RIM fix that shortcoming?

  7. I have purchased a new z10 and still cannot connect to my school board’s exchange server. Funny that i have connected the same server with my wife’s android phone (Galaxy 3) just a few weeks ago. I am getting now help as they say that they do not service BB anymore. I am sure they would make a small adjustment t the server if there was a simple fix. Is there anything anyone can think of which could explain why android would connect but the z10 does not?

    • Do you know if it’s a real Exchange server? It’s not easy to support all types of device as the different OS do things differently when it comes to syncing.

      • yes, it is an exchange server running the active sync option.My old bb torch connected. I am the first in my board to get a z10 so I suppose there is something unique with its setup.

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