RIM's co-CEO, Jim Balsillie, revealed at the JP Morgan Technology Conference on Wednesday that they will be dropping a Wi-Fi-enabled BlackBerry "in the back half of this year."
On the backend, Wi-Fi networks will essentially be treated like additional cellular networks because of the way the BlackBerry Enterprise Server already handles customer roaming between different networks. And since it "presupposes the airlink is insecure," it will automatically encrypt all voice and data transmissions.
RIM is just now moving to catch up in the Wi-Fi cellphone arena because Balsillie initially believed that "Wi-Fi was overhyped," but now thinks that fixed mobile convergence (cell + Wi-Fi) is a trend among operators that will continue to grow. Good call there, Jim. So now we just anxiously await the inevitable FCC filings.