BES 4.1 SP5, released yesterday, can be downloaded from RIM’s website, and it’s available for users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino mail servers. Novell GroupWise and MDS users are out of luck, however. The upgrade is free if you’re a BlackBerry Technical Support Services subscriber, but it’ll cost you $1000 if not.
Here are the key new features available to BlackBerry users:
Free-Busy Calendar Lookup
This function lets BlackBerry users view coworkers’ calendar availability via smartphone, and can even find the next times they’re free, helping to schedule last-minute meetings on the fly. However, this feature will not be available until BlackBerry operating system 4.5 is released.
Download and Edit E-Mail Attachments in Native File Formats
BlackBerry business users have long complained that their devices don’t allow for document and attachment editing—you can view documents, but you can’t make changes. The new version of BES finally addresses the issue. But, again, users will have to wait until the BlackBerry handheld OS 4.5 is released.
Enhanced Instant Messaging and Presence Features
New IM improvements include better address book integration, click-to-call contacts, the ability to convert IM sessions to phone calls and advanced emoticon support. However…you guessed it, these features are only available to users with BlackBerry OS 4.5 or higher.
And here are a couple of enhancements that BES admins can look forward to:
New BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager Features
The BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager helps decrease the number of necessary BlackBerry apps on user workstations, to streamline device management and free up space. It also lets BlackBerry users install related programs and manage their devices via any browser-enabled computer, according to RIM.
New BlackBerry Monitoring Service
Many organizations already use some form of BlackBerry device management service or product, and now RIM’s offering its own service. The BlackBerry Monitoring Service is meant to help organizations reduce BlackBerry downtime and improve the overall performance of their BES infrastructure. It includes monitoring, alerting, troubleshooting and reporting capabilities to help proactively identify and resolve issues before users even have time to report them.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.