Android and Me

RIM CEO talks about Android, needs a reality check

3 years ago 52

RIM’s success has been declining since the iOS and Android operating systems started skyrocketing. Currently, Blackberry devices hold a dismal position in distribution charts, and Research in Motion is in desperate need of rescue. In an attempt to seek a newer approach, past co-CEO’s have gotten off their thrones, and allowed Thorsten Heins to take over the Canadian company. It seems like RIM will need a bit more than this man’s leadership to get out of that hole, though.

One of Thorsten’s first duties as CEO included sitting down for an interview with Kevin Michaluk from CrackBerry. In the interview, RIM’s CEO goes into what he sees coming in RIM’sĀ future. When asked about the possibility of BlackBerry building on Android, he responded the following:

Just take a look where the Android OEMs are. I leave this to you. Take a look at their recent announcements and what you will immediately see is there is just no room for differentiation because they are all the same.

What we choose is the harder way. I get it. Did we miss on some commitments? Yes, I admit that. That happens in high tech. This is not baking cookies. This is building high tech products. From time to time your aspirations and your development timelines hit some bumps in the road that were not foreseen. But I think going down that path is exactly right for BlackBerry and its customers.Thorsten HeinsRIM CEO

Needless to say that Thorsten is completely wrong. Android fans frequently brag about the amount of options the little green robot offers. Yes, most devices are black slabs, and usually have 4 buttons below the screen. There is no doubt that it is the most flexible when it comes to innovation, though.

We have seen a plethora of designs here. Dual-screen devices and even BlackBerry-esque ones are just the beginning of the list. Not to mention the fact that most manufacturers design their own UI overlays, and (whether we like it or not) it gives a different feeling to all Android smartphones.

We are not here just to point out that Heins’ opinion of Android is wrong, though. We all have our preferences. The issue here, with all due respect, is that this CEO seems to be a bit out of touch with reality.

It first hit me during his introduction video, where one of his first statements was that “if they continued doing well what they are doing, he sees no problem with RIM being among the top 3 players.” I believe the contrary – unless RIM makes some good changes soon, it will probably disappear off the face this little place we call Earth, relegated to the likes of Symbian. I am not the only one that says it, and certainly, the numbers don’t lie.

There are reasons why RIM has been considering licensing its services (with rumors of RIM probably licensing its software) to other operating systems. Undoubtedly, RIM has great services, especially for Businesses, but their hardware sales have been abysmally decreasing. We believe that these products have not been able to keep up with the evolution of the smartphone market in general.

I remember my first BlackBerry device, about 5 years ago – it looked almost identical to the latest and greatest BlackBerry phones. The software’s look and feel is unbelievably similar, as well. Then they released some designs like the Storm, followed by the Torch, with a closer resemblance to your typical black slab smartphones. Yet RIM CEO Thorsten Heins believes that Android-related products and services are “all the same.”

Don’t get me wrong. Competition is a good thing, and we want BlackBerry/RIM to come out of this hole. And we will have to wait and see what improvements RIM can make. We simply don’t know if Thorsten’s plans and views have what it takes to do this. Other operating systems are currently focusing on Enterprise solutions, as well.

In sum: You do need some changes, RIM, and you need them quick.