RIM's upcoming QNX-based smartphones will support Android apps, according to a Bloomberg report. Will that help the company's market share?
Motion will enable BlackBerry devices to use Google Android applications,
according to a Bloomberg news report generating some buzz in tech circles.
The Aug. 24 Bloomberg piece cites unnamed sources
"familiar with the plan" as its source. According to them, RIM's upcoming
QNX-based "superphones" will support Android applications. The company's PlayBook
tablet, which also uses a QNX operating system, is likewise expected to become
Android-compatible at some future point, possibly (according to a source
speaking to tech-blog Engadget) by fall.
QNX smartphones arrive on the market, RIM plans on defending its market-share
turf with a line of new BlackBerry devices running BlackBerry 7 OS, which the
company claims offers faster browsing, smoother navigation, voice-activated
universal search, and preinstalled applications, such as the enhanced
BlackBerry Messenger 6.
loaded with the new operating system include three new BlackBerry Curve devices
(the 9350, 9360 and 9370), along with an ultra-thin update of the Bold
(featuring RIM's classic keyboard-and-screen smartphone design). There's also
the Blackberry Torch 9810, with the standard Torch line's slide-out keyboard
and touch display. The Torch 9850/9860, on the other hand, features a 3.7-inch
touch-screen without the physical QWERTY keyboard.
RIM is also
continuing to promote its PlayBook tablet, which shipped around 500,000 units
in its first quarter of release and faces stiff competition from Apple's iPad.
Earlier in August, Sprint canceled plans to launch a 4G version of the
PlayBook, although RIM passed that off as a strategic decision. "RIM has
decided to prioritize and focus its 4G development resources on LTE [Long-Term
Evolution]," it wrote in a statement. "We remain excited and committed to
delivering innovative and powerful 4G tablets to the U.S. market together with
our carrier partners."
is whether including Android applications would help RIM counteract the
competitive pressures being brought to bear by Google, Apple and other
competitors in the space. RIM reported June 16 it had earned $4.9 billion in
revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, down 12 percent from the previous
quarter. Net income also declined, while RIM curbed earnings per share for
fiscal 2012 to between $5.25 and $6.
analysts seem down on RIM's chances overall. "We believe RIM has now squandered
nearly every opportunity and competitive advantage it enjoyed through ineffective
R&D resource management, delayed product launches and misreads of the
competitive environment," Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelbum wrote in a note to
clients, according to a June 16 Reuters report.
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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.