With the blackberry Curve outselling iPhones in the US, one might start to wonder why Google seems to be putting so much emphasis on the iPhone, and not developing an all out Google App for Blackberry Curves and other Blackberry devices. The Blackberry Curve was the best selling consumer smartphone in Q1 2009, and 3 of the top 5 smart phones sold in the US are Blackberries. Moreover, the Blackberry’s image is more that of a business professional or enterprise smartphone.
Talk about good timing, on the yesterday’s news that RIM’s Blackberry beat out iPhones, Google announced that it is currently testing out a new service that will directly push Gmail messages, Google Calendar and Contacts updates to Blackberry devices.
Through the soon to be released Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server, users will be able the said Google Apps directly as part of their BlackBerry’s smartphone applications.
Specifically, this new Google Apps-BlackBerry service will enable users to:
- receive Gmail messages on their BlackBerry email client, to appear as if these messages came from their organization’s Google mail account
- access corporate Google address list
- synchronize contacts and calendar items between their BlackBerry devices and their Google Apps account
Although it may seem to be Google’s direct attack on Microsoft’s enterprise clout, it may be awhile though before Google manages to pose a threat to Microsoft due to some limitations of their BlackBerry service. PC World particularly notes that:
- calendar items can only be synchronized from the server to the user’s phone, meaning it’s not a two-way synch
- only 250 Google Apps users can use per BlackBerry Enterprise Account, additional 250 users would require additional BlackBerry Enterprise account
- awkward formatting of calendar items in user’s BlackBerry inbox, including improperly displaying images
- limitation in mail search capability to only within the past month. older messages can only be searched by logging into a separate Google Mobile App client
These limitations though are understandable since the Google BlackBerry integrated services are still in beta stage. Expect Google to come up with improvements and remedy these minor flaws. Enterprise application service is something that they have been trying to break into, and using the BlackBerry platform is a good way to renew their enterprise computing strategy.