I posted yesterday about a hopeful timeline for RIM to release a cloud-based BlackBerry Exchange Services (BES) offering that integrates with Office 365. The solution will be available in Q4 of 2011 if things go well and then BlackBerry device users with Exchange mailboxes hosted on Office 365 can sync email, calendars, contacts and tasks. In the meantime, you have to resort to other methods for semi-synchronization like the one I posted here.
While Office 365 BlackBerry users wait for RIM to finalize and release its BES offering, I wonder what the long-term impact will be on RIM. I have personally used BlackBerry devices with good success for several years. I don’t dislike the BlackBerry smart phone I currently have and it seems to keep up quite well with other devices on the iOS and Android platforms.
However, since we switched to Office 365 for Exchange mail hosting in May I have been forced to do without contact, calendar and task synchronization. There are workarounds and solutions like NotifySync and AstraSync that provide ActiveSync technology for BlackBerry devices. I tried a solution like this, though, and didn’t care for the way it operated or the cost of the solution.
So I’ve just been doing without my BlackBerry’s contact, calendar and task sync since May. And you know what…it’s not really a big deal! In fact, this situation has forced me to examine how I use my BlackBerry device for work and I’ve come up with some unintrusive workarounds that actually work pretty well. I’m also 99% sure I won’t get another BlackBerry device when my current contract expires in Q1 of 2012. I bet there are a lot of businesses using Office 365 that look at BlackBerry devices the same way now and I wonder how RIM’s delays in releasing a BES integration for Office 365 will impact BlackBerry usage. My guess is that BlackBerry will be much less relevant in two years than it is today.