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RIM Almost Switched to Android, Says CEO

By - Source: The Telegraph | B 37 comments

RIM considered Android before moving forward with BlackBerry 10.

On Thursday RIM CEO Thorsten Heins made several revelations in an interview with The Telegraph, one of which is the possibility of letting other OEMs create BlackBerry devices so that RIM can better compete with Google's Android platform and Apple's iOS devices. He also admitted that the company thought long and hard about switching over to Android before finally deciding to move forward with its latest OS, BlackBerry 10.

"We took the conscious decision not to go Android," he said. "If you look at other suppliers’ ability to differentiate, there’s very little wiggle room. We looked at it seriously – but if you understand what the promise of BlackBerry is to its user base it’s all about getting stuff done. Games, media, we have to be good at it but we have to support those guys who are ahead of the game. Very little time to consume and enjoy content – if you stay true to that purpose you have to build on that basis. And if we want to serve that segment we can’t do it on a me-too approach."

Still, he admitted that RIM doesn't have the economy of scale to compete against competitors that can crank out 60 handsets a year. In order to better differentiate BlackBerry from Android and iOS, it needs to be a focused platform. One advantage is the company's BlackBerry Messenger which, according to Heins, delivers mobile messaging capabilities that are highly unique to the smartphone market.

"[BBM is] what attracts people to BlackBerry," he said. "This is our BlackBerry experience we can deliver -- there’s no other system out there where you can read, write, check if you’ve read my message. We want to make it as differentiated as possible. Going cross platform and opening up would be losing that advantage. I think there’s a huge difference between somebody who just provides the phone and the hardware and someone who provides services."

But to deliver BlackBerry 10, Heins said that RIM may need to look at licensing the OS to someone who can deliver devices at a better cost proposition -- OEMs like Samsung or Sony. "There’s different options we could do that we’re currently investigating," he added. "You could think about us building a reference system, and then basically licensing that reference design, have others build the hardware around it – either it’s a BlackBerry or it’s something else being built on the BlackBerry platform. We’re investigating this and it’s way too early to get into any details."

This is one of the reasons why RIM is working with financial advisers: to see if it's possible to license out BlackBerry 10 and where it would take the company. Either RIM will crank out BlackBerry 10 products in-house, or do it with a partner. Either way, RIM has no plans to abandon its subscriber base. That said, BlackBerry 10 is now make or break for RIM.

"We’ve just got to get it out there," he said.

 

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    fuzzion , August 4, 2012 7:30 PM
    Headline should read

    " Blackberry almost made a good decision "
  • 18 Hide
    Kami3k , August 4, 2012 8:02 PM
    They were too slow to adapt, in the tech industry that means death.
  • 16 Hide
    SAL-e , August 4, 2012 8:48 PM
    nebunin my own opinion, switching to Andorid would have been a mistake, especially with google's slow updates...

    If Google is so slow with the updates, why Android OEMs can't catch up with them?

    nebun...can't wait to purchase the new 4G capable iphone

    How good for RIM is the oppion of the iPhone fanboy?"
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    fuzzion , August 4, 2012 7:30 PM
    Headline should read

    " Blackberry almost made a good decision "
  • -1 Hide
    house70 , August 4, 2012 7:30 PM
    Yeah, they decided not to go with the number one mobile OS. Great decision, indeed....
    They had a chance to apply vanilla OS on their otherwise great hardware, and guess what, they blew it. This could have been the Nexus experience alternative that some users are looking for something other than Samsung or HTC.
    Bleah... they deserve what's coming to them.
  • 8 Hide
    jaywar , August 4, 2012 7:56 PM
    This is a joke. They could have implemented RIM based business applications that they are known for. Android is doing well; RIM isn't, make the switch.
  • 18 Hide
    Kami3k , August 4, 2012 8:02 PM
    They were too slow to adapt, in the tech industry that means death.
  • 0 Hide
    chazbeaver , August 4, 2012 8:16 PM
    They should design Blackberries so that it's possible to install Android on them, while still shipping them with the Blackberry OS. Their software is nothing that every phone in the world can't already do, but it is a niche product. So is their hardware, and people that prefer the Blackberry phone hardware itself over other phones would have more of a reason it buy a Blackberry if they could customize the OS.
  • 16 Hide
    SAL-e , August 4, 2012 8:48 PM
    nebunin my own opinion, switching to Andorid would have been a mistake, especially with google's slow updates...

    If Google is so slow with the updates, why Android OEMs can't catch up with them?

    nebun...can't wait to purchase the new 4G capable iphone

    How good for RIM is the oppion of the iPhone fanboy?"
  • 8 Hide
    jojesa , August 4, 2012 8:51 PM
    nebunin my own opinion, switching to Andorid would have been a mistake, especially with google's slow updates...can't wait to purchase the new 4G capable iphone

    So you are comparing Google slow updates vs what.... RIM no updates.
    Or maybe RIM is so fast that in went around and it got stuck behind everybody.
  • 5 Hide
    sykozis , August 4, 2012 8:56 PM
    Why create yet another Android based phone? The market is already flooded with poorly supported Android based phones. Instead, RIM needs to come up with something that actually appeals to consumers.
  • 1 Hide
    Kami3k , August 4, 2012 9:09 PM
    sykozisWhy create yet another Android based phone? The market is already flooded with poorly supported Android based phones. Instead, RIM needs to come up with something that actually appeals to consumers.


    They could of made a Android that was more "professional." All attempts I've seen have been lackluster.
  • 0 Hide
    shloader , August 4, 2012 9:26 PM
    There's also the possibility that RIM wants to avoid legal entanglements associated to Android. You know... become too successful with it and earn Apple's ire. Valid thought path.

    Liscense BBOS? Really? Who would by that in numbers enough to matter? It's not liscensing revinues they need. They make exceptional hardware but an OS the casual user tends to avoid. Perhaps the ship RIM missed was the one Nokia jumped on.
  • -7 Hide
    whimseh , August 4, 2012 9:36 PM
    But then they would have another cookie cutter Android phone with the same crappy fragmented features and terrible updates that people already suffer from. Good idea? No.
  • 1 Hide
    cookoy , August 4, 2012 11:26 PM
    Quote:
    We want to make it as differentiated as possible. Going cross platform and opening up would be losing that advantage

    Advantage to RIM and not the consumers. I prefer an open platform where several companies compete to provide the best service to their customers instead of a proprietary one that is controlled by one major player.
  • 1 Hide
    house70 , August 5, 2012 12:23 AM
    whimsehBut then they would have another cookie cutter Android phone with the same crappy fragmented features and terrible updates that people already suffer from. Good idea? No.

    No; like I said, they could have released a vanilla Android phone that only requires them to keep up with Google for new releases and slap their hardware-specific drivers and their enterprise email on top of it. That, combined with the fact that their hardware is actually pretty good, would have made an excellent alternative to the current Nexus phones, for the customers that want to try something fresh and new. No carrier-specific bullshit, just plain OS like the Nexus line enjoys.
    shqtthAndroid is a joke.

    Your input here was invaluable, I don't know what we would have done without it....
    /sarcasm
    nebunin my own opinion, switching to Andorid would have been a mistake, especially with google's slow updates...can't wait to purchase the new 4G capable iphone

    Yeah, maybe that Siri thingy can teach you how to spell... now go back to school.
  • -1 Hide
    belardo , August 5, 2012 1:59 AM
    RIM CEO says:
    Quote:
    ut if you understand what the promise of BlackBerry is to its user base it’s all about getting stuff done. ~ And if we want to serve that segment we can’t do it on a me-too approach. ~ RIM may need to look at licensing the OS to someone who can deliver devices at a better cost proposition -- OEMs like Samsung or Sony

    That is funny! What user base? Its shrinking, quickly. RIM could be out of money in 12 months. When I was in an at&t store a few weeks ago, two BB owners came in to replace their BB with ANDROID. They didn't even look at the BB devices 3 feet from them! License their OS? SONY isn't at the top, Samsung is quite busy selling tons of Android devices and already have slow-selling WP7 phones (which look like their Android models). Why would they want another weak platform to support? HTC, doubt it. Nokia - they are in bed with Microsoft... for now or until they die. LG... maybe, but not top-of-the line. Is this guy drinking Crack?

    The "me too" approach is fairly easy to take care of. First of all; Samsung, SONY, HTC and MC have different looking "SKINs" for their phones and I'm talking about the latest Android 4.0~4.1. The dial pads and contact lists look different from brand to brand. The task-switcher even looks different from some phones. But they all run Android Apps.

    RIM could have made a very custom looking BB-Themed Android interface, install their BBM software which could be coded to only work on BB hardware. They could have released such a phone over a year ago. At the rate they are going, it will be 3 years since they bought QNX to re-engineer that OS into a modern phone OS.

    RIM failed. The will most likely die before Nokia.
  • -1 Hide
    belardo , August 5, 2012 1:59 AM
    RIM CEO says:
    Quote:
    ut if you understand what the promise of BlackBerry is to its user base it’s all about getting stuff done. ~ And if we want to serve that segment we can’t do it on a me-too approach. ~ RIM may need to look at licensing the OS to someone who can deliver devices at a better cost proposition -- OEMs like Samsung or Sony

    That is funny! What user base? Its shrinking, quickly. RIM could be out of money in 12 months. When I was in an at&t store a few weeks ago, two BB owners came in to replace their BB with ANDROID. They didn't even look at the BB devices 3 feet from them! License their OS? SONY isn't at the top, Samsung is quite busy selling tons of Android devices and already have slow-selling WP7 phones (which look like their Android models). Why would they want another weak platform to support? HTC, doubt it. Nokia - they are in bed with Microsoft... for now or until they die. LG... maybe, but not top-of-the line. Is this guy drinking Crack?

    The "me too" approach is fairly easy to take care of. First of all; Samsung, SONY, HTC and MC have different looking "SKINs" for their phones and I'm talking about the latest Android 4.0~4.1. The dial pads and contact lists look different from brand to brand. The task-switcher even looks different from some phones. But they all run Android Apps.

    RIM could have made a very custom looking BB-Themed Android interface, install their BBM software which could be coded to only work on BB hardware. They could have released such a phone over a year ago. At the rate they are going, it will be 3 years since they bought QNX to re-engineer that OS into a modern phone OS.

    RIM failed. The will most likely die before Nokia.
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , August 5, 2012 2:01 AM
    nebunin my own opinion, switching to Andorid would have been a mistake, especially with google's slow updates...can't wait to purchase the new 4G capable iphone
    What?! LOL!! You are so funny! Android updates almost twice a year. Over the past 3 years since QNX was bought, Android has gone from 1.6 ~ 4.2 by the time BB10 hits the street.... *IF* it even makes it.

    Android development is faster than iOS and easily faster than RIM.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 5, 2012 2:53 AM
    I think that it would be a great idea.
    Android OS it far better than BB OS in my opinion. The Os on a blackberry is just so bad. I really mean it. The OS is so slow, and it just looks horrible. iOS and Android OS run so much smoother and look so much better.
  • 0 Hide
    xerroz , August 5, 2012 3:09 AM
    Android is a buggy OS
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