RIM, the makers of BlackBerry smartphones, has delayed its BlackBerry 10 smartphone operating system reboot. Is a Microsoft-Rim alliance coming?
A potential buyout, a delayed smartphone system and falling sales: RIM’s in trouble
Earlier this year, RIM – the makers of BlackBerry – announced that it was developing BlackBery 10, effectively a reboot of its phone operating system. It was seen, but not said, to bring RIM up to speed with Google, Apple and Microsoft, but sources say RIM has delayed the release until next year and could even forge an alliance with Microsoft.
Sources speaking to Reuters claims development as proven more challenging than RIM expected – because developing a smartphone OS with a burgeoning app ecosystem can be created easily – and has therefore caused the push back to 2013.
Apparently RIM’s board is encouraging other options, such as building hardware for Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system like Nokia. It would be a humiliation for RIM: the company launched BlackBerry 7 to try and restart its operating system, but simply wasn’t as good as iOS or Android – Windows Phone wasn’t released then – which continue to strive forward.
Another option could be to develop for Android. Matias Duarte, head of design at Google, said it would love for RIM to build hardware for the operating system because it would bring great physical keyboards. RIM may see that as an insult considering traditional BlackBerry device with hardware keyboards haven’t helped to company gain market share from Apple and Google, and the focus on a great virtual keyboard would be scrapped.
Following Nokia’s Lead
It would undeniably be tough for RIM, but is the better option in the long term to become an OEM for Microsoft or Google? It could be depending on who RIM chooses: Android is heavily diluted, and devices could easily get lost in the market. Microsoft has done a good job of highlighting Nokia’s devices – the Lumia 900 has sold a million devices – and it could bring the hardware of BlackBerry 10 devices to Microsoft. And with Windows 8, RIM would have a great platform for tablets.
It would certainly give Microsoft a boost against the iPad. Microsoft has big-name OEMs such as Asus developing hardware, but RIM would grab headline. Tablets with physical keyboards? Get on it, RIM.