Should RIM create a Windows Mobile powered device? This isn’t the first time that I have asked this question, however, I do have a bit of a different spin on it this time.
Over a year ago, when Microsoft put out the first beta of Windows Mobile 5 SP2, I wrote a post about why I was worried about Research in Motion. At the time I thought that wireless email device would become the commodity and that the game would be won on the email backend. I was worried about RIM because they made, and still make, most of their money off of device sales and that they would need to win the service provider battle in order to compete with Microsoft long run. For brevity’s sake, lets just say that I may have gotten this one wrong.
Research in Motion is making money hand over fist off of device sales, in fact, they are doing so well, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsille is floating around the idea that carriers may start to offer BlackBerrys without the BlackBerry service plan. Why would RIM ever allow a BlackBerry to be sold without a BlackBerry data plan? Because, as we have stated earlier, they are making a killing off of selling BlackBerrys.
By know you are probably asking what this has to do with whether or not RIM should make Windows Mobile powered devices. (Notice that I am careful not to say Windows Mobile powered BlackBerry) Well, it tells me that if RIM could pull it off, they would make a killing off of them.
Just like many die-hard BlackBerry users will never switch to a Windows Mobile powered device, there are Windows Mobile users that will never switch to the BlackBerry OS. For Research in Motion, this means that there is a fairly large segment of smartphone users used to paying a lot of money for hardware glitch prone devices that RIM currently cannot have a conversation with because they don’t support the OS that these poor souls are using with no intention of ever changing.
RIM is known to make good, stable, reliable handsets, in fact, the BlackBerry is considered to be the Mac of the PDA world. If anyone can figure out how to make a Windows Mobile device that doesn’t need to be rebooted twice a per day and make it more than 24 hours without having to be recharged, the gang in Waterloo can.
You may have noticed that I have been careful not to say that RIM should make a Windows Mobile powered BlackBerry. A BlackBerry is a BlackBerry and deserves a throne all to itself, however, RIM should use that brand name that ranks right up there with iPod and market the hell out of a new device”From the makers of the Blackberry” that just happens to run Windows Mobile.
Imagine that deep voice movie trailer guy doing a promo for a new RIM device using an introduction like, “From the company that first brought email to your mobile, makers of the the most stable PDA known to man, Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, along with Microsoft is proud to present …” Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie just came into half a billion dollars recently. Maybe they should fund a “Skunk Works” of some sorts to at least look into the idea.
What do you think?