Imagine this: A Windows 8 hybrid by BlackBerry

Imagine this: A Windows 8 hybrid by BlackBerry

Summary: BlackBerry isn't selling a lot of phones running the latest OS. The company has lots of cash so what if it hedged its bets and built a Windows 8 hybrid for the enterprise?

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BlackBerry hybrid
Image credit: James Kendrick/ ZDNet

When you think of BlackBerry you think of phones because that's what the company has usually built. Like other companies, BlackBerry made a brief foray into the hot tablet space, but that may be over given the admission that it won't be releasing BlackBerry 10 (BB10) for the Playbook. I've been thinking about that and I can't shake the crazy idea that to replace the Playbook the company should build a Windows 8 hybrid for the enterprise.

BlackBerry was right to build the Playbook given the growth in the tablet space the last few years. Unfortunately, it botched the launch of the Playbook and it didn't help that the new OS used for it didn't light fires under buyers. 

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On the other hand, the Windows 8 hybrid, tablets that dock with a keyboard unit to morph into a laptop, are appearing all over the place. It's not clear if sales are going to justify all the models appearing constantly but BlackBerry could offer a tie-in to its enterprise services to give it a unique advantage.

Picture a tablet with the build quality and tight design of the Playbook but thinner and with an 11-inch screen. It would have a black matte finish and an elegant design like the Playbook. It would have a high quality laptop dock that would turn it into a real laptop, unlike some hybrids on the market. Of course it would have a dual battery design to offer long battery life for the professional which an Intel Haswell processor would hhelp deliver.

The BlackBerry hybrid, perhaps BlackBook is a fitting name, should have Windows 8 instead of BlackBerry's own OS. Windows 8 is designed from the ground up for hybrid devices and it would be one less thing BlackBerry would have to sell with such a radical new device.

What the company could do is build Windows software solutions to tap the BlackBook into its enterprise services. It could also do Windows tie-ins to make the hybrid work with BlackBerry phones. Think of a complete BlackBerry solution from phones and laptops to the backend servers.

It may seem like a wild idea for BlackBerry to do a Windows 8 hybrid but I think it could pull it off. The company has always produced outstanding hardware and has a great staff of engineers to put on the task of making such a hybrid. It could hire the talent it lacks in this area to jump-start the design and production of such a hybrid.

It's important to remember that BlackBerry has lots of cash reserves to do this project. According to the latest corporate financial report it has $3.1 billion in cash and investments, so the funds are in place. It could do it quickly most likely, and shake up both the mobile space and the Windows 8 tablet/laptop segment.

It would have to get the design right and price it competitively to make a good run of it. The advantage it has over OEMs making Windows 8 hybrids is the ability to make it part of a total business solution for the enterprise. It may be a pipe dream but this writer should would love to see it.

Topics: Laptops, Mobility, BlackBerry

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22 comments
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  • Windows 8? Not A Chance!

    Who is succeeding with Windows 8? Nobody. Blackberry is already losing money with its BB10 strategy, you want it to pour even more money down another hole?

    Its only chance, if BB10 doesn't pay off, is to go Android, like HP is doing. There are still huge growth prospects in that area--just look at the increase over the past year.
    ldo17
    • What huge growth potential is there with Android?

      The only company making money off Android is Samsung. The huge growth in Android has already happened and latecomers like HP are going to learn that lesson the hard way.

      I don't think businesses will buy into a blackberry branded windows device as most seem to want to move to other tech instead of investing more into blackberry.

      Just about anything would sell better than blackberry right now though.
      Emacho
      • Lenovo is growing in PCs

        With a market that is getting smaller. Market share for android is still growing, manufactures can't give up because of Samsung. Actually I believe Samsung will face stronger competition in the time to come - from Sony for sure, probably many others.
        AleMartin
        • I agree

          I think Samsung will face a more focused competition, but only after a few Androids makers get thinned out. The same for PC manufacturers.

          Lenovo is a good example of a company making quality builds and compelling devices as is Asus.

          At the same time I think Samsung is getting cheaper and cutting corners, but they have the brand name to beat in Anroid and no one seems to be doing that. The last two Samsung tablets I've bought have both felt cheap and had screen issues.
          Emacho
      • Re: What huge growth potential is there with Android?

        43% year-on-year--actually greater for Android, because it's been gaining market share. Several vendors increasing their share of the cake 50-100%, Sony taking business from Samsung in Europe--just look around you.
        ldo17
    • Lenovo

      Lenovo knows how to make Windows 8 succeed. And its results show it.
      pratnala
      • Re: Lenovo

        Funnily enough, Lenovo is doing well in Windows because it still offers its customers a choice of Windows 7, instead of trying to force them into Vista II like the rest.

        Oh, and it's also building up a steady Android business as well.
        ldo17
    • I love Android

      But Windows 8 is not going anywhere no matter how much you naysayers want it to. 8.1 was a major improvement over 8.0, and it's going to do nothing but get better for the user. Legacy compatibility puts Windows 8 into the category of "Most apps for the OS" and it stabilizes and speeds up even older computers, so you can sit down. Give it 30 minutes to actually learn it and you'll change your mind about it. If you don't, you eventually will anyway. You're just a fan in denial.
      jamz2277
    • Nobody is making money from general purpose Android tabs

      Except Samsung (and Google presumably). Amazon are using them as an alternative delivery for their existing products and B&N is giving up on the Nook tablet. The Android landscape is littered with players who feel they need to be making tablets and for which Android is an easy gateway but *nobody's making money*. Blackberry need to make nice with Microsoft all right but in terms of getting Secure Work Space onto WinPho/Win8 tabs. Trouble is Microsoft are moving into mobile device management themselves.
      dowlingm
      • Re: Nobody is making money from general purpose Android tabs

        Every Android OEM is making‌ money from it. Name one who isn't.
        ldo17
    • Blackberry/Samsung Partnership

      Latest info I saw was Blackberry is partnering (in beta testing) with Samsung in Africa, the former is allowing the latter to download BB Messenger for free. So, much has been discussed how CEO Thorsten Heins plans to monetize BBM if in fact they are "giving it away". From what I understand it works like this: along with BBM, Blackberry has created Channels, something like Twitter wherein folks have followers and can share photos and messages. And since Smart phones don't have advertising, BB Channels will sign up Corporations and Sports entities to create their own Channel which will have limited, nonintrusive advertisements (like Twitter), and the biggest signer to date that I've seen is Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, Marlies as well as some arenas. So, imagine how many other big names will be signing on to get to get their own Channel? I think, not sure though, that NASCAR has already been signed up. What is the draw? like Twitter there will be contests, inside news, chats with sports stars, and regular individuals like you and I can set up our own channel for any subject under the sun.
      Blackberry's are a mobile computing device, not just a phone or a device to play angry birds on. This year you will see how they can connect to your vehicle's infotainment center for example, and then walk into your house and plug your Blackberry device into your big screen TV.
      Chippy55
  • One Trick Pony

    JK, you are definitely not a one trick pony--wonderfully innovative idea. I think I would buy it. Since we are hybridize-hypothesizing, (I know this is MS heresy, but) why not with a double boot Windows 8/Chrome or Windows 8/Linux hybrid? Or do you think your BB would be a one trick pony?
    Reggie S
  • James

    This is why you are a jurno and not Jonathan Ive.
    Alan Smithie
    • How similar

      Both see something, spin it about a bit then present it as something new. Sounds like a pair to me.
      Little Old Man
  • Not a bad idea

    Considering how powerful Windows 8 is, it makes sense for blackberry to make devices running the OS, an 8 inch and an 11 inch black book with Enterprise software and a elegant hardware design would be good sell.

    Some Windows OEMs are building hybrids that are utter crap (Acer for example). Blackberry can design beautiful hardware, so a Windows 8 tablet will be a hit.
    OwllllllNet
  • on that thought !

    Who knows now what fate blackberry will endure now..
    We seen this happen to many of companies lately. Thanks to red box and Netflix. I don't have a blockbuster or Hollywood video anymore.
    Yay for capitalism!!. You can't stop form help your self entertaining the notion of monopoly with these guys, maybe they colluded to get rid of a company; like a movie, but here, Mary is the American people. ??
    I still think that's pretty cool how the stock was at 6 dollars and doubled within 4 months. The new company's just started.. if this was a brand new company. I would say wow there two different OS phone out there bb10 and bb 7.1 and a tablet..
    I think for this great cellphone company to contend it needs to think long long time Goals .. start making intricate phones again for the adults and Professionals.. a smart phone is not suppose to make you dumb by making every thing in your life easier..
    Ask any kid nowadays to give ten phone numbers 1st is there own 2nd is 911.
    They could start with that. They could go back to there roots and have a retro phone that's up dated. Have two different OS ( this look alike android bb10 os and original blackberry geek os) blackberry has good way of communicating and being a companion for your every day needs just that it's sad to see that most of the major companies that you need to have to use there tools to work website don't Wanna play with this company why do we need them. Why do we need flash player or silverlight or what Evers. nothing is free and equal for every one if blackberry goes defunct then we will be subjugated to submission to use android, ios or Windows. I think if windows and apple had a baby android would me it! .. monopoly..
    Adrian De La Vega
  • American

    Why does everything has to be join at the hip by an American company.
    Everyone followed Blackberry, they just improved what BB did.
    Now that BB has come out with a new OS everyone will copy it and say they invited it.
    All the analyst where saying if the sold 2million phone that would be good, but as June 28 approached everyone was increasing the amount of phones they were going to sell, because the higher it went they knew they couldn't meet the analyst target.
    Beside all the negative they were receiving , people didn't want to switch over from iOS and android and that was the bottom line.
    Just wondering how much money did the shorts and hedge funds paying people to write negative about Blackberry.
    onvisa
  • Not a chance - they'd go Android 100%

    BlackBerry would go Android. They'd have to get a pretty sweet offer to go Windows since its not selling.
    techman31
  • Wait a minute: something seems familiar.

    It sounds to me like what he wants is the ASUS Transformer Tablet (dock sold separately), so why doesn't he just buy that?!
    Richard Estes
  • BB should partner

    Blackberry can partner with Sony, HP or even Cisco to add scale and size needed to bring their OS as a big contender.. that OS is as good as others, it is just that RIM is to small to fight with these giants like MS/APPLE/Google alone
    sam_dis