Why Blackberry Needs Android

I came across an interesting post the other day about how loyal Blackberry users are to their platform relative to iPhone and Android users. The underlying subtext to the loyalty issue for Blackberry is that users are getting restless with the platform as a whole.

While I always take these research studies with a grain of salt, I do find myself relating to the general consensus of what’s being said here. I went from a Blackberry device to an Android device recently, and have no intention of turning back anytime soon. While Blackberry has some great features (keyboard, email), it’s beginning to look sorely outdated compared to the newer crop of smartphones on the market.

For me, it basically boiled down to the combination of OS and hardware choices. Apple and Google (along with hardware partners such as HTC) have been updating their platforms at a furious pace, and the final products we see reflect how many smartphone users are evolving in their use of mobile devices. Blackberry…well, frankly their models haven’t really changed much except for the addition of an optical trackpad here, 3g capability there.

For me it’s simple –– RIM will never be able to keep up with the onslaught of software/hardware that Apple and Google have created with their own respective ecosystems. Apple and Google have attacked the market in two very different ways, and RIM finds itself caught right smack in the middle. That’s the worst place it can find itself. Just look at Palm and see how well that’s turned out for them.

My thought? If RIM wants any shot of staying relevant, they should figure out a way to adopt the Android platform for their devices. Yes, they enter a crowded market with other handset manufacturers like HTC and Motorola who support Android. But, like those other companies, the Android platform does not have to be the sole platform for all Blackberry devices –– it can merely be an alternative to Blackberry loyalists who are looking for a mobile platform that fits their everyday needs better.

If RIM were truly gutsy, they’d pair a few of their handsets (such as the Curve series) with the Android platform on various carriers and let the public vote with their wallets. I’d argue that RIM would see a resurgence of interest if that ever happened.

Just a random, business-related thought of the day. 😉

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