Will RIM’s Multiple Personalities Pay Off?

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A person poses while using a Blackberry Bold 2 smartphone made by Research in Motion
A person poses while using a Blackberry Bold 2 smartphone made by Research in Motion (RIM), July 13, 2010.

Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) has had some trying years since Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and devices running Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android took the limelight, but a new trend could mean big things for RIM’s BlackBerry 10 and for the technology that separates the BlackBerry from the competition.

The Technology

This isn’t something that will snatch up consumers left and right, and is likely to completely miss the 22-and-under category, but a technology being dubbed “dualidentity” or “dual-persona” is opening the doors to the business world, as it allows employees to take care of personal and work-related tasks all on their own personal devices, while still offering businesses some control and security over the business data going through the device.

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BlackBerry Balance is the name of RIM’s dual-persona software and will be part of the new operating system coming out later this month. The technology could mean big things for employees who begrudge the hassle of carrying around twice as many devices to separate their work and personal lives. And it could be a great tool for any enterprise where information security is important, as well.

The Competition

RIM isn’t looking down an open road. Other companies, such as VM Ware (NYSE:VMW), Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS), and Red Bend, are also working on the dual-persona technology. The market for technology related to personal devices used for work is predicted to more than double from 2011 to $181.4 billion by 2017. The dual-persona software alone could become a $1 billion market in the next 5 years.

RIM’s competition is dangerous for BlackBerry, as some software designers are trying to make the dual-persona software available on the more popular Android and iOS devices. However, RIM still has a trick up its sleeve for approaching the business world. Late last year, RIM set up 120 enterprise and government officials with a trial program to let them experience the new BlackBerry features and services — a move that could help snatch up sales to enterprises and governments before the competitors are ready.

 

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