BlackBerry 10 Is a Double Down Bet for RIM: Analyst

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2012-02-05 Print this article Print

RIM will likely abandon plans to license the BlackBerry OS in favor of positioning BlackBerry 10 head-to-head against Apple and Google Android, according to an analyst.

Research In Motion will dump its BlackBerry OS licensing plans and double down on the upcoming BlackBerry 10€™s ability to battle toe-to-toe against Apple€™s iOS and Google Android, according to a new analyst report. 

€œOur checks indicate RIM is likely to move away from a proposal to the Board that RIM license BB10 to Samsung and launch a new BBM, email, and social networking app for iOS/Android for a monthly fee,€ Peter Misek, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., wrote in a co-authored Feb. 3 research note. The new plan, he added, will center on RIM competing against €œApple, Android, and Windows ecosystems with their own integrated hardware/software/services ecosystem.€

Misek doesn€™t profess much faith in this plan. €œWe recently met with [newly minted RIM CEO Thorsten] Heins and found him engaging, articulate, and thoughtful,€ read the report. €œWe see no evidence that he is under the influence of the former management in any way. But we respectfully disagree with him.€

RIM has made no secret of its intention to bet heavily on BlackBerry 10, reportedly due sometime in the second half of 2012. The company€™s current BlackBerry devices have failed to prevent its U.S. market share from sliding in the face of aggressive competition from Apple€™s iPhone and the growing family of Google Android smartphones. A renewed push by Microsoft€™s Windows Phone could also complicate the environment for RIM in 2012.

In a Jan. 31 posting, the BlackBerry-enthusiast blog CrackBerry posted an image of what it called the first BlackBerry 10 device, code-named London. Black and ultra-slim and somewhat narrow, with a wide touch-screen and rounded edges, it represents something of a deviation from the €œstereotypical€ BlackBerry form factor of physical QWERTY keyboard paired to a relatively small screen. But a deviation from the norm is perhaps what RIM needs at this transitional moment in its history.

€œWe€™re hearing that both TI OMAP5 and Qualcomm chipsets are being tested (1.5GHz dual core processors),€ added the posting. €œIf we look ahead by looking at BlackBerry history, it could be that Qualcomm is for the CDMA [Code Division Multiple Access] carriers.€

Misek believes that RIM should continue to pursue the idea of licensing out BlackBerry 10, and giving Android and iPhone users the ability to receive secure BlackBerry email is a €œmistake.€ Whether he€™s right, or if RIM can succeed against Apple and Google by keeping BlackBerry firmly in-house probably won€™t become clear until 2013 at the earliest.

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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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