Should RIM switch to Android?

Should RIM switch to Android?

Summary: SFGate thinks that RIM should give up on their operating system, and put all their chips on Android going forward. There are some compelling reasons given for such a drastic move, but doing this would almost certainly result in disaster.

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SFGate thinks that RIM should give up on their operating system, and put all their chips on Android going forward. There are some compelling reasons given for such a drastic move, but doing this would almost certainly result in disaster.

First, if RIM decided to do this, it would put their own efforts on Blackberry OS another year behind the competition if everything didn't go to plan. Second, a Blackberry isn't a Blackberry without the operating system -- users who swear by the device would be confused, and even upset if they decided to switch everything up.

I'm not saying RIM is on the verge of turning the ship around, but newer versions of their operating system are better than the old, and things are moving in the right direction (slow, however). It may be a lost cause, but they've got to fight this one to the death.

Put yourself in the CEO's chair at RIM. What would you do to turn things around?

Topics: Software, Hardware, Networking, Operating Systems, Processors, BlackBerry

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45 comments
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  • Not all at once

    They don't have to switch all phones to Android - only the consumer oriented ones. As they prove to be more and more successful, they can try to promote them to enterprises as well - and that's how RIM stays relevant in the future.<br><br>Yes they do improve their OS, but like they say "fresh and familiar" which means only their user base would want one, not necessarily everyone else. Most of the people who bought the Torch were already blackberry users, and ~60% of BB users have said that they are not going to buy another BB phone. Their userbase is declining.<br><br>RIM is exactly in the position of Nokia, in 2007. It just took longer for them to get here because they were mostly a B2B company, not a consumer company.<br><br>But it's already obvious that they are going through same steps and mistakes Nokia did. First they keep the same OS and improve on it, then they build a "new one" (RIM is already rumored to build one for the tablet so it might come to phones too), just like Nokia built Maemo for their MID's and now it's switching it to phones. <br><br>After 3 years, Nokia's profits, market share, and stock prices are still declining fast. Analysts are already recommending selling of RIM stock because they dont see a very bright future for them.<br><br>Oh, and the failed Ovistore, too. Same story with RIM. They've just improved their Appworld, but it's too late already. <br><br>RIM doesn't understand that it doesnt matter if you have a better phone, and it doesnt matter even if you have a better OS, right now. It's all about the ecosystem, and all by themselves they cant create or sustain an ecosystem as the one Apple created by being the ones to transform the industry, or Android created by allowing every other manufacturer to have an OS like iPhone's.
    <br>I've shared more thoughts on this here:<br><a href="http://nextparadigms.com/2010/07/21/5-reasons-why-nokias-ceo-failed-big-time/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://nextparadigms.com/2010/07/21/5-reasons-why-nokias-ceo-failed-big-time/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://nextparadigms.com/2010/07/21/5-reasons-why-nokias-ceo-failed-big-time/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://nextparadigms.com/2010/07/21/5-reasons-why-nokias-ceo-failed-big-time/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://nextparadigms.com/2010/07/21/5-reasons-why-nokias-ceo-failed-big-time/</a></a></a></a><br><br>and here:<br><a href="http://nextparadigms.com/2010/08/20/can-rim-succeed-with-a-custom-os-for-blackpad-hint-no/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://nextparadigms.com/2010/08/20/can-rim-succeed-with-a-custom-os-for-blackpad-hint-no/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://nextparadigms.com/2010/08/20/can-rim-succeed-with-a-custom-os-for-blackpad-hint-no/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://nextparadigms.com/2010/08/20/can-rim-succeed-with-a-custom-os-for-blackpad-hint-no/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://nextparadigms.com/2010/08/20/can-rim-succeed-with-a-custom-os-for-blackpad-hint-no/</a></a></a></a>
    lucianarmasu
    • RE: Should RIM switch to Android?

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  • It would be very risky indeed

    RIM is both cursed and gifted by their OS. It is not sexy enough to sway other users, but longtime BB fans (I'm one of them) only swear by it. <br><br>Were they to switch to Android, BBs would loose their primary selling point to BB fans, and yet not have anything special to compel other users to buy one rather than another Android phone. <br><br>From that perspective, I think it would be a very risky strategy indeed.
    yozzman
    • A logical argument

      I find myself agreeing with what you have said, [i] BBs would loose their primary selling point to BB fans, and yet not have anything special to compel other users to buy one rather than another Android phone.[/i]

      A Blackberry sells becuase it is not a WM, Android, or iPhone.
      Tim Cook
      • Risk?

        Risk is doing nothing, or even worse, following Microsoft.
        BrentRBrian
      • BrentRBrian, how did Microsoft enter into this discussion?

        yozzman's response was a valid and logical argument, and nothing to do with Microsoft

        Why are Blackberries selling when there are a multitude of Android phones on the market to choose from at this very momnent?

        If these people wanted an Android phone, they would not be purchasing Blackberries. as for Microsoft, they took a different approach to their next Phone OS, one that may payoff for them.

        Should it not do well, they have billions of dollars in profits comming into the company from various products, RIM does not.

        Why should RIM risk everything on their single income stream?
        Tim Cook
    • The BB's value is NOT the OS, it's corporate email.

      @yozzman I moved from an iPhone (personally owned) to a BB (company owned).

      The phone itself is a miserable experience. Mainly, the tiny, unreadable screen, and dismal web surfing experience.

      The store is a pain, I have to have PayPal to make a purchase, it is a kludge.

      The value of the BB is that most corporations have chosen to trust them with corporate email.

      Moving to Android solves these problems faster than RIM can by themselves. They get an app store, and a better browser.
      caspianhiro
    • RE: Should RIM switch to Android?

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  • RIM's built in revenue Stream

    Unlike Apple / Android RIM is getting fees monthly from carriers to access their data network which does a large amount of routing / compression which helps the carriers. So while they don't have as robust "AppStore" as Apple, RIM doesn't rely so much on selling devices to drive their profit.

    Frankly considering how open Android is, how insecure it is and already having issues with malware why would a company known for being the delfacto standard for security adopt one seen as presently the worst?

    I'm sure like WebOS, in some lab at RIM they are working with Android to check it out weigh the strengths and cons. I just see right now due to the rapid releases it's more con.

    I still feel this is a whole bunch of fanboy tech blog people who don't like the BB GUI as much as the icon based os, they find it complicated (for whatever reason) and don't value the intergration it provides.

    Should RIM put out similar hardware specs - YES, People will assume that if the CPU/Memory is less the device is not as good. If the display isn't equal resolution wise etc. At some point higher specs on a PHONE will cease to matter. How much power do you really need in a communication device? What we are seeing is the growth of a new platform that is really mini-tablet / computer. RIM at the moment makes PHONES.

    So if they could provide a harden Android OS that routes through the NOC, features the same security then yes it might make sense but to be that sounds like a tall order.

    Do they split off and provide a "consumer line" and enterprise line? Unsure they have the capital and staff to take on the effort.

    One thing about RIM is they have a very robust mobile solution that no one has equaled or surpassed in the enterprise space. Apple / Android / Nokia cannot say that.
    MobileAdmin
    • 260,000 Androids activated a day

      Not just fan boys ... the public in general LOVES these phones.

      Android has in short time kicked Microsoft and Apple to the curb. RIM is next ... and with all the HIRING RIM is doing these days, I'd say they are seeing the handwriting on the wall and trying to do something about it.
      BrentRBrian
      • RE: Should RIM switch to Android?

        @BrentRBrian,

        Agreed...I can't wait to trade my Storm in for an Evo.
        bmonsterman
      • RE: Should RIM switch to Android?

        @BrentRBrian I agree the only reason I have a blackberry is because it came free after I doused my phone in the pool last month. I'm trying hard to get an HTC Evo before the 30 day return policy is up on this thing so I can turn it in. Can't seem to put my hands on one anywhere.<br><br>Blackberries are great for work. If you need to be tethered to the corporate mailserver its the phone for you. For the consumer though -- I'm here to say, just forget about it! Its a quality device but with no ability to stream big content like movies, and the half of the device front yard real estate taken up with a crappy thumb keyboard (hello slide out keyboards?) instead of screen, it is BORING. BYE blackberry for this consumer!<br><br>Oh I have a Curve 8350.
        learningrichard
  • RE: Should RIM switch to Android?

    RIM is becoming the modern day version of the buggywhip makers. They have the best buggywhip on the market but the market gets smaller everyday day after day.
    mb01915@...
  • NO!

    If I want an Android phone there are plenty of them.
    NoAxToGrind
  • Bad idea, become a bottom feeder...

    What's the difference between HP, Compaq, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Gateway, eMachines in PCs? Basically nothing, but a name on a box, and extremely low profit margins. The Android handset makers will be in the same boat soon enough.
    GoPower
  • Seriously?? WHY??

    Why would RIM switch from an OS built with security to an OS known for being full of Google spyware??<br><br>That would be the most stupid thing they could do.
    wackoae
    • RE: Should RIM switch to Android?

      @wackoae

      I need to second you on that. They would lose most of their customers very quickly!
      jorjitop
      • RE: Should RIM switch to Android?

        @jorjitop , I have to weigh in here also. It's enterprise orientated handset. Of course they will keep developing more consumer orientated handsets, which may end up running android (or maybe not), but the business handsets will run rim for a long time
        pitdroidtech
  • seriously RIM has some danger signs ahead

    yeah everyone can say RIM has its loyal following, but things are going to shape very differently the next year or two.

    http://madbohem.com/technology/apple/mobile-platform-wars-who-will-come-out-on-top/
    madbohem
  • Why bother?

    Rather than enter into a "race to the bottom" with Android hardware makers. RIM should just create an Android Blackberry client. Full BES integration onto Android handsets would be very lucrative, and REALLY piss off Google. You can't serve ads into encrypted mail streams running through RIMs servers.
    matthew_maurice