It’s time for RIM to do something radical
The ground is shifting below RIM’s feet. The Canadian phone maker is struggling to survive in the industry where rivals are leaving very little room for it to breathe. A lot has taken place in Waterloo in the last few days. Bearish sentiments… Impending job cuts… Bad quarter forecasts… Even the most anticipated BlackBerry 10 has been now delayed till 2013.
Amidst all the new generation smartphones, BlackBerry has somehow started to look ancient. But then there are some like me, who still prefer the good old ‘QUERTY keyboard’ way of doing things. Yes, it is one of its key strengths. But the lack of rich apps makes it look very dull. BlackBerry has to somehow bridge the gap between its strengths and the current consumer trends.
It’s time, I think, for RIM to do something radical. It ought to preserve itself for the future by adapting itself to other mobile operating systems. It is already too late – and by the way things look, 2013 will be a disaster. There are of course two choices – Microsoft’s Windows, or Google’s Android. Now if RIM was to join the Android bandwagon, things would not look that great either. Android, the most popular smartphone platform in the world, has issues of its own – most importantly, the fragmentation issue. The platform is everywhere – it has become the choice for every low-end phone manufacturer, stripping it away from providing its true mobile experience. One has to invest in a high-end device to truly experience the Android platform. But that is not the whole point. RIM will have to be unique in its offering of the Android platform. It is likely that if they don’t, they will surely be lost in the big crowd. Now, let us take a look at Microsoft’s Windows Phone. It is struggling to make its mark, with its future still uncertain. However, the upcoming update to the platform looks promising. Windows Phone 8, also known as Apollo, has a lot of features to offer. Yes, Windows Phone has the issue with the availability of popular apps that most of us have grown used to while using an iDevice or an Android. But there are good apps available too – most of us will find the Windows app store sufficient for our needs. The platform lets you get your work done, is easier to use, and is more beautiful to look at. Compared to Android, RIM has better chances of standing apart from the crowd with Windows Phone. Moreover, there’s Nokia. If RIM were to choose Windows Phone, together with the fact that Nokia is already with it too, it would surely catch people’s attention. There’s brand loyalty at the end of the day. Some of us might want to give them a chance if they manage to turn this to the right direction. When the synergy among them sparks, I am sure it will create an interest in the Windows Phone platform from both the consumer and the developer end.
Let us hope the company survives long enough to even consider all these. It is unlikely that the company will run into bankruptcy anytime soon. It has $2 billion in cash, and it is Canada’s most valuable technology company. Something tells me that they will bounce right back up. Well that is what a BlackBerry loyalist like me can hope for, at the least…