BlackBerry 10 Is a Double Down Bet for RIM: Analyst

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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