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BlackBerry Work Spaces launched for iOS and Android

Initial indications are that the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone is selling well in the UK, but it looks like the company formerly known as Research in Motion is hedging its bets by bringing some of its technology to rival platforms from Apple and Google.

The BlackBerry Z10, launched late last month, is the brand's attempt to reinvent itself for the smartphone era in the face of flagging sales. Based around a high-performance dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4 processor, somewhat disappointing given the proliferation of quad-core parts from rival manufacturers, the device runs BlackBerry 10, a brand-new smartphone operating system based on the same QNX platform as the BlackBerry PlayBook's operating system.

While the company is clearly pinning its hopes on the BlackBerry Z10 and other BlackBerry 10 devices winning back market share from smartphones like the Apple iPhone 5 and the Google Nexus 4, it has a clear backup strategy in place: bringing its messaging know-how to iOS and Android devices.

Launched this week at the company's BlackBerry Enterprise Forum, the BlackBerry Work Spaces functionality isn't available for direct download on the rival smartphones and tablets. Instead, it's to form part of the company's BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 10 software, used by companies to provide back-end management and communications for BlackBerry handsets.

When installed, the BlackBerry Work Spaces system will allow administrators to split iOS and Android smartphones and tablets in two, providing the user with a 'home' space in which he or she can install whatever software they like and a 'work' space in which only pre-approved applications and data reside. The user gets more flexibility in their use of the device and the promise of improved privacy, while the administrator gets more control and the promise of security.

It's a neat idea, and one that clearly latches on to the current trend for 'bring-your-own-device' in the enterprise - but also indicates a tacit admission on BlackBerry's part that it has lost its cachet among business users, with many opting for Apple's iPhone and iPad devices instead.

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