Research in Motion's operating system previously called BBX, now the BlackBerry 10 is supposedly the company's answer to the iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The BlackBerry 10 is meant to make RIM relevant again in a market it had dominated years before Apple and Google crashed the party. RIM is hoping its next generation BlackBerry 10 operating system with its new Cascades user interface technology, multitasking ability and full support for email, synchronization and security would be enough to sway enough users from iOS, Android and even Windows Phone 7. But with the BlackBerry 10 not even being released until 2012 can RIM still generate enough consumer interest or should it jump sides?
It's not hard to sympathize with RIM these days. Back in 2006 BlackBerry was the phone to get for enterprises who liked the company's security. Fast forward 5 years later and Google's Android has the largest market share in the smartphone market, Apple's iPhone is selling more than 100 million units a year and RIM sales continue to drop so much so that Microsoft's Windows Phone could very well be in third place behind Android and iOS. RIM is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Should it continue developing its own operating system that consumers are clearly ditching in favor of iOS or Android? And if it switches to another operating system will it run the risk of alienating its remaining consumer base that doesn't want any operating system except BlackBerry.
If RIM really would pull its stake from BlackBerry 10 OS and adopt a new operating system Android would be the only choice. Apple wouldn't risk adding a different smartphone to its iPhone line while Microsoft seems pretty happy with its own OS and partnership with Nokia. RIM has also developed an Android App Player for its PlayBook tablet and the player is expected to ship with future BlackBerry 10 smartphones.
A switch to Android will at least give RIM a chance to get back in the consumer market. Android is a pretty open system and importing RIM's greatest features, its email service and its BlackBerry Messenger can be done quickly. An Android BlackBerry could also allow its users access to the Android App market. RIM and Android joining forces will be a great blow to Apple. With RIM's market share added to Android, developers will be motivated to make apps for Android first before the iOS.
Of course such a drastic move isn't without its obstacles. RIM would have to convince its corporate clients that it can provide the same security for Android phones given the platforms propensity for attracting malware. RIM would also have to invest a lot of money into the new lineup which could be problematic given the company's financial woes. Switching to Android would be a last-ditch effort and if RIM's BlackBerry 10 fails to make an impact then it could be RIM's only way out of quagmire it finds itself in.
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