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Selling phones? Nonsense, BlackBerry is all about THE CLOUD

Mobile management service planned for BB, Android, iOS

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Ailing smartphone vendor BlackBerry says it will soon launch a new cloud-based service to enable easy, web-based management of mobile users and apps.

"The cloud service will be purpose-built to meet both business and end user needs, and will require no IT experience, servers, or software," BlackBerry's Luke Reimer said in a blog post announcing the offering.

The service will work with Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices, the company says, and will allow administrators to manage email, app, network, and security settings for all three platforms from a single management console.

Admins will also be able to build an "app catalog" that includes apps from Apple's App Store, the Google Play store, and BlackBerry World, then deploy and manage apps for all three platforms and monitor usage statistics.

Users will be able to perform commonplace actions like resetting passwords and remote-wiping lost devices themselves via a self-service portal, while admins will be able to set security policies and receive alerts when devices violate them.

Setting all of this up will be "as simple and fast as for a web mail account," BlackBerry claims, at a cost per user that's "less than a cup of coffee a month."

The company offered few further details, declining to give exact pricing information or a launch date for the service, which it describes only as "coming soon."

With any luck, BlackBerry may stick around long enough to actually see the plan through. The company is currently reeling from a disastrous financial quarter that saw its core smartphone business shrinking while its poorly received Z10 smartphones gathered dust in its warehouses.

That painful disclosure caused CEO Thorsten Heins to finally wave the white flag, tentatively accepting a $4.7bn offer from Fairfax Financial Holdings that would take BlackBerry private.

That deal won't close until November 4, however, and given the current cloud of uncertainty it's hard to see many customers signing up for a subscription service from BlackBerry at this stage.

Still, we'll take a "wait and see" attitude here at The Reg – as can you, dear reader. Anyone who would like to receive more information on BlackBerry's plans as they emerge can sign up for updates on its website, here. ®

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