The next version of Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), v5.0.3, or BES 5.0 Service Pack 3 packs a variety of valuable new features for BlackBerry administrators and RIM smartphone users, according to a leaked BES 5.0.3 release notes document from RIM.

Notable new features and enhancements for administrators include:

  • BES admins can choose to make smartphone software updates optional for their users
  • The BlackBerry MDS Integration Service is now end-of-life. The BES 5.0.3 setup application removes the MDS Integration Service when you upgrade a BES
  • End of support for Microsoft SQL Server 2000
  • Support for more IM servers, including Microsoft's Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and Lync Server 2010
  • Support for Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 virtualisation platform
  • Many new IT policy groups and rules

BES 5.0.3 enhancements for users include:

  • Users have the option to rollback optional software updates
  • The default settings for media file downloads have changed to allow users to download larger amounts of content using the BlackBerry Browser or through an HTTP connection using BlackBerry MDS Connection Service
  • When a meeting organiser receives a meeting confirmation email message via BlackBerry, or a request for information email message, the email message includes any comments that the meeting participant added
  • Support for Microsoft Office 2010 file attachments

Select RIM BES customers are already testing a beta version of the new software update, called BES 5.0 SP3 Beta/EAP1, and the official release is expected within the next month or so. In related news, RIM this week released a BES security update to address yet another issue with the BES BlackBerry Attachment Service's PDF distiller component.