RIM BlackBerry customers have some tough choices to make this year. As you may know, late last year RIM announced that it would have no new phone models
until the end of 2012, which is a lifetime in the very fast-moving world of mobile communications. While RIM stumbles with both its hardware and software, critics are calling for the company to make some major changes. The always eloquent Peter Rojas from Gdgt says, “It's time for RIM to abandon BlackBerry 10
and adopt either Android or Windows Phone.”
Why? Because the market has coalesced around iOS and Android, and the network effects (primarily, but not only, around apps) those two platforms have created is proving difficult for even a worthy competitor like Windows Phone, which has already been available for over a year, to gain market share…. And while it's bad enough that the first phones running BlackBerry 10 won't ship until sometime around the end of the year, the real problem is that even if RIM started shipping phones tomorrow with an OS that could hold a candle to iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, it probably wouldn't make much of a difference. RIM would still be in very serious trouble.
Rojas predicts that whatever the new BlackBerry 10 OS turns out to be, it will be too little and too late and will suffer the same fate as HP’s WebOS. So what can be done? Rojas suggests three possible ideas:
- Sell off the handset business
- Go with Android or perhaps even Windows Phone
- Hook up with Amazon
Which one of these would have the most impact on you as a BlackBerry user and/or an IT expert who supports BlackBerry in your organization? Rojas doesn’t think RIM has what it takes to change. “The most likely outcome is that the company will continue on the path it’s on, releasing the first BlackBerry 10 handsets around the end of this year to a largely indifferent market.” But that’s a long time from now. We’ll have to live through a lot of market tumult between now and then.