According to statements made at the JP Morgan Technology Conference, RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie has indicated that such convergence of the BlackBerry should occur “towards the end of the second half of this year.”
RIM lags behind its competition in developing devices that incorporate both mobile technologies.
Motorola and Nokia are already selling phones that include Wi-Fi and are aimed at corporate users. RIM had previously pointed out the need for such convergence in their products, although never before had they announced such immediate product availability.
The BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) used to send the corporate message to BlackBerry users already supports roaming for clients who can move between multiple carriers, so the BES would treat Wi-Fi networks as if they were additional cellular networks. Such capacity would allow data connections and telephone calls to be made between Wi-Fi and cellular networks as users move.
Additionally, the BES “assumes that the link is insecure” and therefore encrypts all voice and data transmission using both technologies. The BES already supports Wi-Fi connections, since the BlackBerry 7270 incorporates Wi-Fi.