Research In Motion’s BlackBerry platform is a sinking ship. They’ve made multiple attempts at remedying the problems surrounding the decline in popularity, including everything from releasing new hardware with new form factors, to new software with access to Android apps. Nothing has worked so far, and with news that RIM’s modern operating system BlackBerry 10 won’t be out until late 2012, it would seem that the company is all but finished. But RIM could have a trump card ready to play at any minute. They could get Android manufacturers like Samsung and HTC to build devices with BlackBerry 10, putting more BlackBerry devices on the market, and helping bolster RIM’s lacking ecosystem.
According to Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek, RIM may already be in talks with manufacturers like Samsung and HTC to license BlackBerry 10.
We think some of this has already been started with RIM likely agreeing to license Blackberry 10 to Samsung, HTC, and possibly others. This would help create a critical mass for the ecosystem and maintain RIM’s monthly service revenue. It puts more pressure on the hardware business in the short term. Longer term, it possibly gets people hooked on the RIM ecosystem and may in fact allow them to sell more BB 10 handsets (if they are able to create compelling handsets).Peter MisekJefferies & Company
Talk of RIM licensing software is nothing new. Back in May of 2011, RIM announced that they would be providing the same security solutions their BlackBerry handsets enjoy to Android and iOS handsets. While that may keep RIM alive for the time being, they won’t be the only major players in the enterprise and government security field for long. Google was reported to be teaming up with the NSA to create a special hardened Android kernel that would essentially put RIM out of business in the field. And even if RIM did make a large-scale move to license security related software, it does nothing to support their own failing ecosystem. It only helps the competition.
RIM’s initial reaction to their lacking ecosystem was odd to say the least. Instead of finding interesting ways to entice developers over to their platform, they hammered out the software necessary to let Android developers port their apps to BlackBerry devices. One way or another, RIM wants to cash in on the success of Android. By getting popular Android manufacturers to develop BlackBerry handsets, they’d be doing just that.
Both Samsung and HTC have made a name for themselves in the wide world of smartphones. The name BlackBerry has become associated with old, outdated software and hardware. Samsung, however, is anything but. Their products are constantly introducing the latest and greatest mobile technology has to offer, something RIM needs in order to stay afloat. Not only would RIM be using Android manufacturers like Samsung and HTC to raise BlackBerry 10′s popularity, they’d be taking away some essential resources from Android.
Even if Samsung and HTC were to make BlackBerry handsets, they wouldn’t ditch Android altogether. But as both companies are faced with limited resources, it only makes sense that they would have to take some development away from Android. You then have to wonder if app developers and other similar manufacturers would follow suit.
Right now, picturing a Samsung Galaxy BlackBerry seems crazy. But it is entirely possible. Just remember that even if a device like that ever sees the light of day, a bigger, better Galaxy S IV will be right around the corner.