Despite BlackBerry’s minuscule market share in the consumer smartphone market, the Canadian company has been busy trying to spin one of its more popular products, BlackBerry Messenger, into a valuable piece of enterprise software.
On Monday, the company launched BBM Protected, a encrypted messaging service BlackBerry claims is one of the most secure mobile messaging systems available to enterprise users today.
The service builds off of BBM’s existing security software, adding an additional unique encryption layer between two BBM Protected users. The encryption key is controlled by the business or agency; BlackBerry is not involved in brokering the key exchange between devices.
While BlackBerry claims this is the only mobile messaging software that meets the National Institute for Science and Technology’s Federal Information Processing Standards for cryptography (FIPS 140-2), it is also touting the ability to allow end users to communicate with friends and family outside of the enterprise network.
“BBM Protected security happens in the background without limiting the end user’s ability to take advantage of all the consumer features that IM has to offer,” Jeff Gadway, head of product and brand marketing for BBM wrote in a blog post Monday. ” Users have one contact list and one chat list. They don’t need to install a separate IM app for work messaging.”
BBM Protected is the first part of Blackberry’s eBBM suite — a host of enterprise products and services the company announced in February — to be unveiled. The messaging system can be used on BlackBerry smartphones running BBOS 6.0 or later or BlackBerry 10 in regulated mode (The Defense Information Systems Agency approved BlackBerry 10’s mobile OS to run on Defense Department networks in March). The company expects iOS and Android versions to be released later this year.
BlackBerry’s market share among consumers and enterprise customers has cratered over the past few years due to the prevalence of iOS and Android devices. According to research firm IDC, BlackBerry’s U.S. enterprise market share has plummeted to 5 percent from 70 percent in 2010. Their market share among U.S. consumers has hovered in the single digits for the past few years.