At one point, BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion had considered a switch from using its proprietary operating system to Google’s Android OS, but current company CEO Thorsten Heins ultimately said that RIM decided against such move. The decision and consideration is similar to what we’ve seen chronicled of rival smartphone-maker Nokia, which ultimately decided to partner with Microsoft and use Windows Phone, moving away from the legacy Symbian OS.
Heins cited as reasons for not going Android the lack of differentiation, struggles with other Android OEMs, and the exclusive BBM engine. Many of these reasons were also detailed by Nokia as its own reasons for not partnering with Google and going with Microsoft.
“We took the conscious decision not to go Android. If you look at other suppliers’ ability to differentiate, there’s very little wiggle room. We looked at it seriously — but if you understand what the promise of BlackBerry is to its user base it’s all about getting stuff done. Games, media, we have to be good at it but we have to support those guys who are ahead of the game. Very little time to consume and enjoy content — if you stay true to that purpose you have to build on that basis. And if we want to serve that segment we can’t do it on a me-too approach.”
According to RIM’s chief, Android may not be the bailout solution for the struggling Canadian smartphone-maker as Android licensees Motorola and HTC have recently had shown declines in profitability in a competitive smartphone market that shows Apple and Samsung gaining market share.
Ultimately, RIM is choosing to stay course with its proprietary BlackBerry OS–the company is currently working BlackBerry OS 10–after having seriously considered a switch to Android due to the fact that it could deliver an experience that’s headlined by BBM.
“That’s [BBM] what attracts people to BlackBerry. This is our BlackBerry experience we can deliver – there’s no other system out there where you can read, write, check if you’ve read my message. We want to make it as differentiated as possible. Going cross platform and opening up would be losing that advantage. I think there’s a huge difference between somebody who just provides the phone and the hardware and someone who provides services.”
And like rival Nokia, RIM is finding new BlackBerry users in developing markets. You can read the whole interview and Heins’ vision for the company over at The Telegraph.