01/23/2013 02:58 EST | Updated 03/25/2013 05:12 EDT

RIM readies corporate users for new BlackBerry handsets

Research in Motion has launched software to get businesses ready for its upcoming BlackBerry 10 handsets, while continuing its new emphasis on enabling workplaces to support Android and Apple devices.

Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM made updated software for securely managing fleets of smartphones and tablets available on Wednesday. The software can be downloaded onto BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices for a 60-day free trial.

BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 allows a company's IT staff to remotely manage security settings for all employees' smartphones and tablets — BlackBerry or not — and to provide secure access to corporate data through the devices. Billed as a "real multi-platform" solution, it is expected to enable employees to choose the brand of device they want to use and bring their own devices to work — a trend that RIM sees as growing.

RIM began allowing companies running its secure enterprise service to manage iOS and Android devices last April, under the name BlackBerry Mobile Fusion.

This week's upgrade to the software, which reverts to its earlier BlackBerry Enterprise brand name, gives companies the technical capability to manage the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones slated for release on Jan. 30.

Once the 60-day trial period is over, RIM will charge a one-time fee of $99 per device to use its service. However, it is allowing existing BlackBerry users who upgrade to the new BlackBerry 10 handsets to trade in the licences of their old devices at no charge.

According to The Canadian Press, the company hopes BlackBerry10 devices will attract a large set of the business market with features such as its BlackBerry Balance technology, which allows one phone to operate as both a business and personal device entirely separate from one another.

But the move to open its enterprise service also protects RIM from the possibility that its new devices could be considered a sales flop. With a system that invites both the Apple and Android operating systems into the fray it could continue to operate no matter the outcome of the new product launch.