5 More Reasons Why RIM Should Build A Device That Runs Android

A couple of years ago I wrote a fairly popular post titled  “5 Reasons That RIM Should Make A BlackBerry That Runs Android“.  Today, I feel even more strongly about this so I am doing a follow up with 5 More Reasons RIM Should Build a Device That Runs Android. I’ve changed gears just a bit and am making the distinction between BlackBerry and device in this update, but, at the end of the day, RIM is a company that makes most of its revenue by selling hardware and they need to get on board when it comes to Android regardless of if they call such a device a BlackBerry or something else…

5 More Reasons Why RIM Should Build A Device That Runs Android

  1. The BlackBerry OS is too utilitarian — The BlackBerry, in my opinion, is, and, continues to be the best mobile device for text based messaging that the market has ever seen.  Email, SMS, MMS, IM, and most every other type of text based communication is done better on the BlackBerry than it is on any other device.  This is what the BB OS was designed for along with an emphasis on security and a decreased data footprint.  Unfortunately, this is pretty much the only area where the BB OS trumps its competition these days.  I don’t want to say that Android does everything else better, but, it sure seems like it when you are comparing the two devices together.
  2. Android is proven to be a hit with consumers — BlackBerry devices still dominate in the corporate world, however, the battle for smartphone supremacy  has shifted to consumers.  Android is a fast moving train coming after consumers in a way that RIM has and continues to fail miserably with.  It seems like RIM can’t bring the consumer aspects of the BlackBerry OS up to par with it’s competitors quickly enough while keeping its corporate base happy.
  3. Third party application support on the BlackBerry seems like an after thought –  I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard anyone say that they like the BlackBerry because of all the cool applications that run on it.  This is not to say that really good applications exist for the the BlackBerry platform, however, at the end of the day, it is so difficult to develop for the BlackBerry platform that developers simply don’t.  RIM just released a brand new OS and you didn’t hear of any applications developed specifically to take advantage of it.
  4. Less than half of BlackBerry users want another BlackBerry– A recent Nielsen report stated that only 42% of current BlackBerry users actually want their next device to be a BlackBerry.  Half of current BlackBerry users want their next device to be an iPhone or an Android device.  If RIM builds an Android Device, customers may churn, but you at least have a shot at keeping them as a customer.
  5. BlackBerry Connect (BlackBerry Application Suite) –  If RIM created an Android powered smartphone, how cool would it be if said device ran BlackBerry Connect, allowing users to access BIS / BES Mail, BBM, and PIN Messaging.  RIM could even take it a step farther allowing their Android powered device to run BlackBerry Application Suite, essentially running the BlackBerry OS as a virtual machine.  This would truly be the best of both worlds.

I am officially back to being a two device guy.  I carry both a BlackBerry and a Droid Incredible. Though I am not terribly impressed with the BlackBerry Torch I will almost certainly move to the BlackBerry Storm3 once it hits Verizon.  That being said, however, I only use my BlackBerry these days for BES , BIS,  BBM, and 2 or 3 really good BlackBerry applications.  My Android device is used for everything else.  I would love it if RIM would just build and Android Powered Device so I could go back down to one phone…

Comments

  1. Crazylegs says

    Is it time to rename the site to unRimarkable? Seems all that RIM can pull off these days. Too bad, I loved my BB but the other platforms offer so much more so I had to jump ship.

  2. gquaglia says

    5 Reason RIM won’t switch to Android
    1. Mike Laztarded in stubborn
    2. Mike Laztarded thinks his product is the best
    3. Mike Laztarded believes his own hype
    4. Mike Laztarded is an engineer, not a salesman
    5. Mike Laztarded runs RIM

    • says

      I am not saying that RIM should switch. I am just saying that they should create a device that runs Android and put BlackBerry Connect or BlackBerry Application Suite on it. They don’t even have to call it a BlackBerry.

  3. Jason Homme says

    I’ve been a long time BlackBerry user going all the way back to the 7550. I really like the BlackBerry as a email device, but, the author hit the nail on the head… It is too utilitarian. Smartphones have evolved, and, the BlackBerry, to put it bluntly, hasn’t. I don’t know that you can really even call it a smartphone any longer. My contract is up tomorrow and I will be moving to either the Droid X or the Droid 2. I will miss chatting with a few colleagues that use BlackBerry Messenger, but beyond that, really can’t imagine what I can’t do on Android that I could only do on BlackBerry.

  4. says

    I agree with many criticism RIM had to face recently, but I do believe that many of them are unfair too.
    yes, Android and iPhone are winning the battle in the consumer market, but then again, these devices were built for these market. BBs weren’t. they were traditionally created for the corporate world. now, keeping this market while having to win over private consumers is a difficult task, as it is for Apple & Google to keep the private consumers while breaking into the corporate world.
    if You want a multimedia-toy, yes, then you have to get an Android or the iPhone.a BB is not this, and eventually never will be, and personally I’m happy with that. do I want more “cool” apps for my BB. surely. but I don’t want BB to become an Android.
    a friend of mine has the Samsung Galaxy S and it’s without a doubt a fantastic device. and yes, my BB seems a little bit old-fashioned. but my BB is a solid, well-working device with many useful apps and a fantastic mailing-system, it gives me what I want from a phone.

    Moreover, from what I’ve seen from OS6 it quite impressed me. it’s a huge step forward with many useful functions. I do believe that the AppWorld will be growing and hopefully also with more apps for free.

    what RIM messed up a bit are two aspects of the otherwise impressively looking Torch: the display resolution and the CPU. with higher resolution and more CPU the Torch could be a fantastic phone, but now unfortunately RIM indeed missed a chance.

    without a doubt BBs will lose market shares, this is just logical, considering that there’s simply more competition. however, with OS6 I do believe that RIM has proven is still has a lot to offer.

    • BB Defector says

      Why do BlackBerry users who can’t do all the stuff that people with Droids or iPhones can do call those other devices toys? Apple and Google are building devices that people want. You don’t have to deprive yourself of the device you want. RIM won’t come after you if you move off of their platform. If you want a BlackBerry… Fine, but, you don’t have to downplay the competition to justify your decision to stick with what you wan’t.

      I moved off of the BlackBerry When the Droid Incredible came out. The only thing I miss is BBM and the physical keyboard. I am probably going to get a Droid 2 just because I like phyical keyboards, but, I would buy a Android BlackBerry in a heartbeat because I get get BBM back.

      RIM should consider this. They would sell like crazy.

      • gquaglia says

        “Why do BlackBerry users who can’t do all the stuff that people with Droids or iPhones can do call those other devices toys?”

        That how they make themselves feel better for choosing a out dated product. The die hard fan boys over on BB forums do the same thing.

        • says

          ok, so I tried to state my point above once more, let me be clear:
          I’m not a die hard BB fan boy, I chose my devices based on my needs. I’m very happy with my BB, doesn’t mean I’ll stick with BB forever.

          as I said on my former post, “toy” for me was not supposed to be negative, it’s just a different device with different main aspects. simple as that.

      • says

        by calling Androids and iPhones “toys” I didn’t mean to criticize them. I just wanted to make a difference between the traditional working tool BB and the multimedia devices iPhone and Android. don’t get me wrong, I love the job google is doing with Android. but BBs and Androids/ iPhones are simply different devices, fortunately. that doesn’t say that BBs are not partly becoming multimedia-phones too, as well as iPhones/ Androids working tools. they simply have a traditionally different approach.

        of course I’d also consider buying a BB Android, on the other hand I’m glad BB are not Androids/ iPhones, because if I want an Android, I’d buy one.

        RIM has to improve, without a doubt, but with OS6 I feel that they are on the right way.

        and yes, I would love BBM having opened for Andriod and iPhone.

  5. Jarrod Roarke says

    I think clearly Lazaridis has a bit of an emotional attachment to the BB OS and it is only natural that he would which is why think that it may take an outsider with no history with RIM to come in and make some tough decisions. RIM should have been thinking about building Android devices two years ago when Android really started to come onto the scene and RIM should have figured out a way to buy Palm when they had the chance.

  6. P.Dub says

    I think you left off the most important reason.
    RIM would sell millions of them and make a killing in the process.

  7. justme says

    It always fascinates me when people write articles like this. Why would RIM move to Android? Does that make business sense to you? Android is Google’s platform, the Blackberry is RIM’s own platform. Why would it abandon it for a competitor’s platform. It’s like saying Microsoft should move to OS 4 so they can stay competitive. Or, Apple should move to windows so they can attract more enterprise customers. It doesn’t make sense.

    While I agree that the newer phones are a lot more sexy than my old 8350i (yes, Nextel), my BB does what I need when I need it. It is very reliable and the battery life is simply outstanding. I haven’t had a home phone since I got my first phone in 1999, it is that reliable to me. I use it for business as well as personal calls with no problems. There are plenty new kids on the block with many more bells and whistles one could want, but I stick to my BB because it is proven to be a solid performer.

    There is nothing on the market now that cannot be replicated in RIM within 24 months. We’re talking about abandoning an entire platform just to share a few features. That is not smart. Features can always be added. There will always be something bigger, better, and fresher than what you have at any particular moment. It doesn’t make sense for RIM to abandon their platform just to fall in line with the rest. The Blackberry is a business phone and handles that quite well. Tell me one drop-dead feature on Android that is a not a google product (map, g-mail, voice, etc.)?

    The Blackberry mastered e-mail when most phones didn’t know didn’t have an @ symbol.
    The BB browser is horrible? No problem, it’s fixed in OS 6. The BB screens are too small…
    see BB Touch and/or Bold. Touchscreens is all the rave out there, but is very overrated.
    There is a certain muscle-memory benefit a physical pad provide that a touchscreen simply cannot match. Use a keypad for a couple of weeks and you can probably to a good portion of the tasks without having to look at the keys. You can’t do that with a touch screen.

    The blackberry is a serious business platform, it is not the popular kid in the spotlight.
    It’s a platform designed to get things done at the highest level. I mean, seriously, they just got threatened to get shutdown because…they are too secure!!!!! The phone provides too much protection for your data, how hilarious is that??

    What does that say about the other platform.

    Privacy and security matters for business and the BB just leaped itself ahead of the rest. You want the latest fashion trend, then by all means, jump on the bandwagon. When you’re ready to do some real work the BB is what you’ll need.

    On another note, damn that HTC is nice!! haha

    btw, I think Android is a powerful platform. I’d probably switch to that if I leave the Blackberry. I still think the iPhone is a highly overrated piece of crap.

    • says

      Why would HTC move to Android? Why would Samsung move to Android? Why would Motorola move to Android? Why would any hardware manufacturer move to Android? Because Android is a top notch open source mobile operating system that is arguably one of the best mobile OSes going right now.

      RIM is in competition with Google only from a software standpoint. RIM, however, makes the lions share of its revenue from hardware sales. Continuing to build BlackBerry devices and starting to build Android Powered devices are not mutually exclusive.

      If RIM were to build a Android powered device, it would immediately be a contender because of RIM’s reputation as a quality handset manufacturer. They could continue to make BlackBerry devices, but, could offer some “BlackBerry Like” features, i.e., BIS mail, BES, PIN messaging, BlackBerry Messenger, etc., only on their branded Android platform. Kind of like HTC does with Sense UI.

      Would this cannibalize BlackBerry sales? Yes, but, customer churn would be in-house and RIM still makes a profit on the hardware. RIM already makes multiple devices. Making one that runs an OS other than the BlackBerry OS shouldn’t be too difficult.

      • says

        comparing RIM to HTC or Samsung is a bad comparison. bith HTC and Samsung didn’t have proper smartphone-software until they started running Android, whereas RIM does have a really good OS. and so far, from what I’ve seen concerning OS6, I’m quite impressed with it and can’t wait to finally have it.
        like I said before, I guess RIM messed up a bit the Torch, especially concerning CPU power and display resolution.

        that’s why I am really looking forward to use OS& on a Bold, or even a Curve. that gives me personally exactly what I need and want from a smartphone today.

  8. ja2bk says

    I honestly don’t know how I would feel about a RIM device running Android. How long would it take to load? LOL. What I would say here here to is Blackberry App Suite or Blackberry Connect for Android phone. I have championed liking Blackberry very vocally. I have tried ANdroid and wasn’t a fan, but I am checking out other Android devices as it may have more to do with the phone/manufacturer than the OS (although still don’t get why they don’t let bluetooth do what it does on even dumbphones). I played around with a Captivate and surprisingly learned I could type rather well on a touchscreen (in landscape mode… not so much in portrait). So, it really got me thinking. Outside of bluetooth, my biggest gripe was battery life and weak vibrate as I tend to not have ringer on when @ work or certain settings. I would like to know I received a call or text at the very least. So, what is left to keep me with BBRY? I honestly have to say only BBM (and I am actually considering keepin touch via Facebook app going forward). There are still good points to blackberry such as battery life and good as a phone. But, you can’t beat the lure of being able to get rid of carrying both an iPod Touch and a Blackberry. Android (or an iPhone if it is ever off AT&T) could make that possible.

  9. Norman R. says

    Robb, I commented on your first post about this a few years ago and can’t believe I’ve been a fairly regular reader for that long.

    Like I said back then, I think that people are getting hung up on RIM only being able to support the BlackBerry OS or Android. They can do both.

  10. says

    I see no point in RIM doing this. It would be hurtful to the Blackberry brand and would only cause confusion when someone tries to figure out if the thing is a Blackberry or an Android or both. I do agree that RIM is taking incredibly too much time deciding to implement the consumer requested features but you have to remember they were always a corporate focused company to begin with. I’m not giving up hope and will stick by them.

  11. s3 says

    Seriously, the thought of RIM making a android device is absurd in my opinion. Why would RIM put time, effort, money, and manpower into a platform that isn’t theirs?
    I just saw the you tube video of a 9700 running OS 6 and quite frankly I am impressed. You see I am one of those people who carries a ipod touch just for the browser while I am at the airport and just use my 9700 for email and such. The story Robb wrote about dual users was good.
    With the upcoming release of OS 6 for the 9700 I think the browser will suffice and can finally leave the ipod at home.

    If you want an android device with your email checked every 15 minutes, have it, no one is stopping you. I believe the iphone has the same time,15min,(except for my mac email which was pretty fast and I know gmail is fast too).
    There are different platforms for different users and we all cant be held to iphone standards or android standards like some phone review websites do(not referring to this one). It just seems like there is a reason why there is a variety. We are who we are and want variety. Variety in cars, food, clothes, some even women, (if your single).
    If we didnt like variety we should try to get all the carriers to use ONE freakin standard of cell service so that the whole US is COMPLETELY covered instead of different frequencies and spectrums that leave us heavily covered in one but not the other area.

  12. Bluehorseshoe says

    All that i have ro say is RIM should have bought Palm for the OS. What a combination that would have made for the consumer market while retaining the BB OS for the Government and high security sectors.

  13. Matty says

    RIM should never switched to Android at least not anytime soon.

    http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/17/androids-pursuit-of-the-biggest-losers/

    this is an interesting article about how the android has been pursued by the biggest losers in the handheld market, NOKIA and Microsoft being the only exceptions. Microsoft in particular have always been a software company and in saying that it is in their benefit to either pull out or bring in something new considering the fall out of their current windows mobile operating system. it is deemed as failure as it has lost most of its market.

    Apple isn’t number one in the US and is actually being beaten in the smartphone market by RIM whom you suggest should swap over now. NOKIA has lost even more market yet is still the number 1 phone company in the world.

    The link I gave above showcases many of the “HARDWARE” manufacturers jumping ship and throwing their weight behind android. it is a ready made OS, it is easily configurable and the community has backed it quite astonishingly.

    The profits of RIM have dropped steadily this in the face of stronger competition but it does not mean the end for the company considering it is still like apple one of the most profitable smartphone makers.

    Rim is a software maker, no doubt about it! why would you throw all that away, considering the amount of control they have with their OS and the accompanying software that makes it one of the leaders in security and messaging. Sure they could port it over but they would now have to rely on community and googles effort in pushing out an OS. RIM would still need to have engineeers to configure such a setup and it would be quite an expensive effort if they can’t roll their systems out quick enough.

    The only time i can see RIM taking advantage of Android is if android could be run as a virtual machine, not the other way round on a mobile device. Maybe if RIM used android on a tablet device perhaps but what we’re hearing is that they are taking this one step further and starting anew with a platform they bought out via QNX. This seems a logical idea considering OS 6 is built for smartphones, while QNX software can be configured from the ground for other uses. We could possibly see a merging of the two down the line depending on how successful this “blackpad” with QNX operating system turns out.

    There’s no doubt that when the iphone came to the market, many handset makers were left high and dry and many turned to android in the following years to rebuild but their profits haven’t stabilised.

    Android is a good fit for hardware makers but i hardly see it as ideal for RIM. Why is microsoft continuing on with WP7, HP with webos, Samsung dabbling with bada, NOKIA with maemo etc. there must be a good reason to continue having software in house? It’s because you have more freedom instead of being dictated where the market should head via google influences on OS system built by them, though it is after all, a very good open source OS.

    There are things RIM have done wrong and they NEED to fix it. they need to become more relevant in the consumer market, they need to integrate their services better and anticipate the direction the market is heading. Integration is key and i see the blackpad or whatever name it may become, as a stepping stone to that eco-system that apple has done very well.

    I dont want to see RIM as a ME-too hardware manufacturer, they will not achieve more by copying the rest. it is after all, once the android hype cools down, manufacturers will have to differentiate their offerings. RIM is in a unique position while this is happening to move forward, if they dont then watch them get overtaken by the rest but until then this isnt the way for them at least int he mobile market.

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