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This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. The opinions expressed within are my own and should not be attributed to any other Individual, Company or the one I work for. I just happen to be a classic techie who is passionate about getting things to work as they should do (and are sometimes advertised and marketed as being able to?) and when I can I drop notes here to help others falling in to the same traps that I have fallen in to. If this has helped then please pass it on - if you feel that I have commented in error or disagree then please feel free to discuss with me either publically or privately? Cheers, Dave
Thin Clients, VDI and Linux integration from the front lines.... Raw and sometimes unedited notes based on my experiences with VMware, Thin Clients, Linux etc.
I am looking in to the possibility of getting a "Blackberry Killer" Solution together combining the power of Exchange 2003 SP1(SP2) - the Always-Up-To-Date (AUTD) feature - and the new iPaq HW6500 from HP.
 
Although I am by definition a Citrix Consultant at Ultima, I have always been interested in SmartPhones and the Pocket PC for some while. Now that I have Tom Tom Mobile 5 working on my C500, I figure there's not much that it can't do, so let's push the boundaries right out there.

Main Crux of this is:
Blackberry has a *mind share* (or hype) far in excess of it’s reality
Blackberry has ONLY shipped a TOTAL of 3 million devices
Nokia ships more than 5 million devices a quarter
Converged devices (smart phones and wireless handhelds) are up 137% in the first Quarter of this year (year on year)
http://www.canalys.com/pr/2005/r2005041.htm

So far my Research would tend to indicate that although some people are aware of the existence of this solution, it is not widespread and there doesn't appear to be a fully documented step-by-step method of deploying this. It also looks like so far no-ones had to do this in the face of Corporate or Enterprise Security - and we know just how hard they are to please? Kidding guys, honest!
 
My understanding of the Pro's and Con's of the Blackberry are:
Blackberry
Pro’s
Nice Form Factor (for blokes - says my good lady Wife!)
Does what it says on the tin
Con’s
Can’t extend the device to do other things? This is just now starting to happen with SDK's etc?
Doesn't scale well beyond 25/50 users - single server?
Extra cost on top of existing infrastructure, Extra and separate Admin task/function 

PocketPC/SmartPhone
Pro’s
Open to choice of device – can be small SmartPhone for girls ;-) (Don't underestimate the Lass's purchasing power!)
Scale’s out and up as part of Exchange - extremely powerful?
Con’s
Needs to be locked down?
Security? (SP2 gives the ability to remotely wipe!) - needs further research...

Even to install this as Proof of Concept in house will take some convincing to start with as this would be on a Production Firewall. To start with I am now running Small Business Server 2003 via VMWare at home to start this PoC – from there I hope to *sell* this as an idea/design that we can implement ASAP.

My understanding (such as it is at the moment ;-) is:
Exchange 2003 -> ISA (to enable RPC/HTTP(S) connection) -> Device

Questions:
Comparison with HW6500 and iMate device?
3rd Party Compression utilities to reduce traffic use? may not be necessary?
AD? Can you embrace and extend the GPO’s to lock these devices?
Possibility of leasing arrangements? through a Carrier? This would keep implementation costs pretty low? just *bolt-on* to Exchange?

Here  we principally have 3 Teams of Consultants – Security, Microsoft and Citrix.
So clearly anything we/I setup for ourselves or for Clients needs to conform to a reasonably high level of Security. If I can persuade our Security Consultants that I have covered all their concerns (even it means waiting for SP2?) then we can at least start to get this off the ground.
How does the authentication mechanism work in this?
Is this somehow saved/cached on the client?
How does the connection authenticate?
Will this work in Enterprise scenario’s with Checkpoint and Cisco Firewalls? What could be considered Best Practises in this Authentication process?
Is this why we need an ISA to handle the Authentication/Proxy side of things?

Sales Perspective:
This will be a no-brainer if I can overcome the Security concerns, as this will allow any Enterprise to simply extend the Exchange System out to pretty much any Device

Costs:
One thing to be sure of is the cost impact of the too and froing of the packets via GPRS – this may need to be mentioned as a caveat at the bottom?

Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 11:57 PM C500/C600 SmartPhone (or replacement) , Exchange and Push Email | Back to top


Comments on this post: "Blackberry Killer" Solution - based on SmartPhone and/or PocketPC (iPaq HW6500) and Exchange ActiveSync (EAS)

# re: "Blackberry Killer" Solution - based on SmartPhone and/or PocketPC (iPaq HW6500) and Exchange ActiveSync (EAS)
Requesting Gravatar...
A nice idea but bear the following things in mind:
1. Blackberry offers a standard solution to all PPC devices using their own enterprise server and linking to exchange server.
2. The devices that you are talking about do have a limited processing power and memory usage.
3. Don't judge the size of their market by the number of devices sold, bear in mind they also sell software and total business solutions. They are bigger than you think.

As for the IMate devices.... They are made by HTC who are renowned for being awkward and unhelpful to developers. They do not release SDK's to developers and they will not release the API's either. On the other hand HP are a lot more helpful. I would go with them just solely based on this fact. At least if you get stuck with low level device drivers you have support from the manufacturers!

I don't know much about the compression utilities that you were thinking of.. I am sure there are ways of locking the devices down... but I have never needed to... You could just lock down your source instead.

As for the way of getting hold of the devices, I would do a large volume license/ lease of the devices and you would need to do this through a mobile carrier if you want to use a mobile phone, or alternantively you go with a wireless enabled pda and work it that way. You can then use skype for voice over ip conversations.

I hope this helps a little... These were just my very first observations. E-mail me if you have more questions.
Sarah
Left by Sarah on Jun 14, 2005 12:58 PM

# re: "Blackberry Killer" Solution - based on SmartPhone and/or PocketPC (iPaq HW6500) and Exchange ActiveSync (EAS)
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Please sponsor me for the London to Brighton bike ride next sunday!!!
Left by Sponsor Sarah here! on Jun 14, 2005 1:03 PM

# re: "Blackberry Killer" Solution - based on SmartPhone and/or PocketPC (iPaq HW6500) and Exchange ActiveSync (EAS)
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Also, I don't know where you got your info on BlackBerrys scalability, but we're running over 1,750 BlackBerrys on a single BlackBerry server, which is more than the number of users that we have running on any single Exchange server. Also the total data charges for our BlackBerrys is fixed at £20 per month regardless of how much data is used. Our old PPC implementation used to cost anything from £20 to £150 per user per month depending on usage.
Left by Ed on Jun 17, 2005 10:04 AM

# re: "Blackberry Killer" Solution - based on SmartPhone and/or PocketPC (iPaq HW6500) and Exchange ActiveSync (EAS)
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I'm interested in whether you pursued this. I have a minimal demand for blackberry devices from my senior management but can't justify buying and installing BES. Is there an ASP Proxy to intermediate a session between a BB device and ActiveSync/OMA?
Left by Mick Vollmer on Oct 28, 2005 11:37 AM

# re: "Blackberry Killer" Solution - based on SmartPhone and/or PocketPC (iPaq HW6500) and Exchange ActiveSync (EAS)
Requesting Gravatar...
I'm not sure what you're after? Do you want to find a way of getting BB Devices to connect thru to Exch via ActiveSync/OMA? what type of devices do you want to connect?
Left by Dave Caddick on Nov 01, 2005 3:12 PM

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