BlackBerry phones join the Android bandwagon
With an early 2012 release planned for their QNX-based BlackBerry phones, Research In Motion is missing one thing from their last ditch effort to stay relevant: apps. Android's Market has over six times as many apps available versus BlackBerry's App World store. But, that gap will widen as QNX will break the compatibility with older BlackBerry apps. It looks like RIM is taking one out of Bugs Bunny's playbook and allowing Android apps on the new devices, because as Bugs says, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
It’s a Hail Mary play from RIM, and possibly the last chance for co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, to show they are the right people to lead the company forward. After seeing the disappointing launch of the Windows Phone platform and the shut down of Symbian and more recently webOS, there is no doubt that in mobile, apps matter. RIM is losing market share quickly and having a modern OS at the ready is a smart play. Adding Android apps is genius.
It's likely that instead of allowing the Android Market on their devices, they will be forcing developers to re-submit their apps to BlackBerry's App World so that RIM gets the 30 per cent fee for each app sold. For RIM, this gives them access to hundreds of thousands of apps already developed and makes them a credible platform from launch day.
Instead of competing with Apple or Google, RIM can position the BlackBerry as the third place solution. Microsoft has a long way to go before Windows Phone becomes number three, and BlackBerry is making a big bet that this "partnership" with Android will pay off big time.