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RUMOR: RIM May License BlackBerry 10 To Other Manufacturers?

Speculations about RIM these days are floating all over the place, the latest speculations come from a  note to clients by Peter Misek, analyst from Jefferies & Co. On his note Misek states RIM may be moving in the direction of licensing BlacKBerry 10”

We think some of this has already been started with RIM likely agreeing to license Blackberry 10 to Samsung, HTC, and possibly others.This would help create a critical mass for the ecosystem and maintain RIM’s monthly service revenue; however, it puts more pressure on the hardware business in the short term. Longer term, it possibly gets people hooked on the RIM ecosystem and may in fact allow them to sell more BB 10 handsets (if they are able to create compelling handsets).

RIM licensing their OS to manufacturers such as HTC, and Samsung does not seem like a good fit, they may encounter delays similar reasons why we haven’t seen a QNX powered BlackBerry by now. In the past RIM has tried similar approaches, one is the the BlackBerry Connect, giving other manufacturers access to push technology.  That did not meet the adoption RIM had hoped for.  Some of the supported manufacturers included Nokia, Palm Treo, Sony Eircsson, and Windows Mobile,   you can read more about it here.  With these manufacturers having huge success with the Android operating system it does not seem likely, but at this point it does not seem farfetched for RIM to explore all the options available to them.

Other moves RIM has made in the past at bringing the BlackBerry experience to other devices is the BlackBerry Application Suite. In 2008 and and 2010 we saw some images and even a video of an HTC device running the app. I had a chance to try it and it perform slow but it was eventually scrapped.

So what do you think would this be a good move for RIM or should they just focus on bringing a Solid QNX powered BlackBerry to market later this year?

Source:  Barrons via MobileSyrup

30 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Would the usual suspects (HTC, Samsung, and LG) support an additional mobile platform after Android, Windows Phone, and Bada (for Samsung)? Perhaps they would if they had concerns about Google’s acquisition of Motorola putting them at a disadvantage or concerns about Microsoft’s close ties to Nokia. However, supporting another platform would put considerable pressure on finite resources. I think its somewhat unlikely.

    Also, RIM is a device manufacturer primarily. As the post notes, their efforts to provide push email on other platforms have met with very limited success (almost none). It would surprise me if they went this route. Is there a compelling business case to be made for doing this?

    All in all, I think this is unlikely to pan out. However, stranger things have happened.

  2. Well… I don’t know how I feel about this. But certainly in some sort of love/hate relationship with these news/rumors… I love my BlackBerry devices…

  3. The problem I see with this though is that each manufacturer would want to put their own customization on the phone to differentiate it from the other manufacturer’s bb10 phones. I think RIM would want and require more control over the phones than this would allow.

  4. I don’t quite get the purpose of doing this. I mean I get the pros/cons, but, in the end why would I want to buy a superphone with BB10 on it from another manufacturer if the originator is also putting out a phone.

    W7 and Android don’t make their own phones so there isn’t a direct comparison.

    The Nexus line isn’t even 100% Google as Samsung/HTC is making phone

    If I want Blackberry… I will buy a Blackberry.

    2012 and beyond will see RIM putting out top end hardware consistently , it won’t be like RIM of the past with sub-par hardware, so you will not be getting crazy better hardware from the other manufacturers

    I suppose in the short-term (3-5 years) it would be in net benefit for RIM as there would be more BB related product that will help them recapture the market.

    If their initial licensing agreements don’t extend beyond 5 years then its ok.

    I think it becomes bad if RIM recaptures the market. At that point it is better for them to be the only person selling Blackberry products to maximize profits.

    It all depends on how long the initial agreements would be for.

    If 5 years or less… good… if more than 5 years.. not good

    • RIM will exit the handset business.

      Once RIM puts out cutting edge hardware they won’t be making any money off the handset business. As long as they can ensure BB10 has a good market share it’s likely much more profitable to try to make money off the back-end stuff.

      • Why do you say that they won’t be making money off handsets if they are cutting edge?

        • I just think this is a lot like IBM exiting the PC business. Desktop PCs and eventually laptops became too cheap to make any money off of. The only company that really makes money off of PCs is Microsoft.

          The hardware guys in the business do make some money but they have to be ultra good at manufacturing and distribution and IBM just couldn’t compete and make any kind of serious money.

          Apple can make money off of it’s laptops because of the design. The truth is Apple product don’t compete with the latest windows products in terms of Chip speeds etc. They are out of date even before they are released to the market.

          Unfortunately I don’t think RIM has the brand name anymore to pull that off.

          If RIM can flod the market with phones that run BBM and other RIM services, they will be ahead of the game.

          I think even for the very high-end handsets that might remain BB products they can just contract maufacture them like they did with the Playbook.

          • 1 main difference that has not happened yet is the cost of superphones off contract have not gone down much at all.

            You can find a brand new PC or laptop for $400 that does the job just fine. Where as the top end is over $2000

            You don’t have that disparity in the super/smartphone industry YET.

            I think RIM’s image is tarnished, but, its no Windows Mobile or Palm. America loves a comeback. RIM can still be that comeback.

            They need to have a solid BB10 launch in 2012 though. Without that.. they are basically done imo

            Your playbook example is very good one though; however, the difference is that the Playbook has Blackberry on the back… not Samsung/HTC/LG. That is a big difference.

            There is a difference between getting Quanta to make your phone and slap Blackberry on it and getting Samsung to make your phone and slap Samsung on it

            Option 1 is interesting. Option 2 I am not a fan of

  5. Considering Android is open source (free), why would anyone license BB10 since it would just drive up the cost of the handset?

  6. That would be awesome. It means we would get better hardware, finally.
    Manufacturers would probably focus on creating business devices first in order to not canibalize their Android products.

    • Ofutur… please clarify. Why do you say “finally”

      You do realize the BB10 devices made by RIM will have the “better hardware” and will hit before any other potential licensed BB10 device

      • How stupid are these analyst’s? Did Peter first say that hybrid devices were going to hit in 2011? Aren’t analysts saying QNX has poor battery life? Aren’t they also saying BBM and Push Emails aren’t working on it? Their just trying to throw hooks out there hoping RIM will screw itself become like Microsoft and lose all respect for itself! Like what would they rename BBM? Samhtcbbm? Really Analyst’s?

        • Most of what you say here ia factually incorrect, in fact pressty much all of it.

          • Are you really calling me out here? Are you really clueless on how RIM can handle the hardware side of things? Please do some research. The Playbook Hardware is in fact more powerful in comparison to the iPad. The software stopped them from competing with Apple. I know other things they can incorporate hardware too.

            • I agree about the PlayBook. Great hardware for Q1 2011, total let down from the software side

            • Maybe I didn’t read what you said correctly. I thought you were saying that stuff, but you said the analysts are saying it and they are wrong. I agree with that.

              The only part I don’t agree with the is the RIM like Microsoft comment. It kind of shows your age. With XBox, Kinect, and Mango 7.5 I don’t think MSFT is viewed as a dog company anymore. My prediction is windows 8 will smash the iPad just as Android phones have smashed the iPhone. While the media is still gaga for the iPhone the truth is it’s market share has slipped. The iPhone has already attained it’s zenith and that’s about 16% market share wooohooo!

              • I have serious doubts about Windows gaining traction.

                I understand that Windows 8 could be fantastic and it will very likely be on top of the line hardware

                Its an image problem

                It will take a lot of things for Windows to climb out of its hole

                Windows needs to advertise and connect with users like Apple to have a chance

                That is a tall order

              • Look at MSFT in finance. Now compare that to APPL…

                • It funny that you put this up because I was thinking about this last month and checked some figures. It turns out MSFT makes about twice the revenues as Apple and MORE THAN twice the profits.

                  So it turns out Microsoft campares quite favorably to Apple.

                  Add to this that MSFT has been making money hand over fist for all the years that Apple was struggling. Their mountain of cash compared to Apple’s is like comparing west coast mountains to east coast.

                  Simple put, in financial terms MSFT beats Apple. <–period

      • BlackBerry devices have always been lagging in term of hardware. From the specs, up to the material used to build the case. I don’t mind not having a LTE device since battery life is key to the experience, but I want to live with my time, not behind it. The 9900 got a better case than usual, but is plagued with design faults and you usually have to wait 12 to 18 months for the next design to see if it’s any better.
        Now if all the major hardware manufacturers fight to build the best BlackBerry, I could see some really great devices coming our way.

        I realize that we would probably have to wait until 2013 to see the first devices, but I’m sure we’ll see plenty of leaked shots before that if there is any truth to that rumour. By that time, BB10 will probably be ready.

        • Ofutur… you didn’t understand my question.

          It is generally accepted the first batch of BB10 phones will be high end hardware. Industry leading? No.

          But we are past that point. Just like on PCs

          95% of users do not need quad core on a superphone, just like 95% of users do not need quad core on a PC

          Its that simple.

          Manufacturers can keep blowing their brains out by doubling hardware every year, but, if it doesn’t enhance the user functions then whats the point.

          If your app opens in an instant with dual core, then will you notice when it opens in a double instant on a quad core? No

          Superphones are on the verge of being in the same boat as PCs… specs by and large do no matter. OS, UI and name brand matter

          Also remember…. battery life is a spec and is an important spec

          I am convinced that moving forward RIM will consistently have hardware that is on par with the times if not slightly above.

  7. Good news, but I disagree with Ofutur about better hardware. I think RIM has great hardware, at the high-end the Bold is really nice to use and at the low end the curves really last.

    The Playbook also is a nice piece of harware.

    If this happens I think it signals RIM exit from the hardware business. That may be wise. Even though I like the quality of their phones they likely make little money from building the actual handsets, and a Samsunf that makes Android, windows and BB10 can demand lower prices from chip makers than RIM ever could.

    Ofutur probably mean out of date chips, this I can agree with but I just don’t think that cutting edge chips are really as important as tech boys believe.

    • I like the PlayBook, but the 97xx series feels cheap (it used to be the high end) and have LCD problems, cameras have lower specs than Androids, chips are always slower, etc.
      It doesn’t really matter unless you ask more from your phone or start handling the ones made by the competition.

      Honestly, I’m surprised Microsoft hasn’t bought RIM by now since there is such a strong dependency between BES and MS Windows, MS Exchange, MS SQL server and MS Office. It’s the perfect mobile extension for businesses that are too small to know better. MS’ mobile hardware division (Nokia) could build the handsets 🙂

  8. Folks this is already going on. Don’t think HTC, Samsung and handsets but planes, cars, TV’s, refrigerators etc. If you want to think handhelds, think about all those Windows CE devices that are out in the field with no future. These embedded and connected devices would be well suited with a full ecosystem from QNX and BlackBerry.

  9. This would be a big mistake on RIMMs part – Both hardware and security wise. Haven’t they learned from Android, who constantly come out with watered down hardware and is full of security problems.

    • They understand the whole fragmentation problem with Android, I personally dont think they are going to screw themselves. Peter Misek is a Moron! Just ask him about the hybrid BB/QNX phones…

    • Maybe that’s the point, these manufacturers want a phone that gets past the security issues. Since the new BB10 OS will run Android Apps the new OS will look pretty attractive.

      The only question for RIM is can we make more money from selling the handsets ourselves versus licensing it out. Maybe making $30 per phone and selling tens of millions more phones is better than making $100 per phone and selling millions less. It also would slow down the market dominance of Android and maybe short circuit momentum for windows OS.

      Think not just about the first order effect on RIM but also the strategic impact of getting Samsung to devote efforts to your BB10 OS versus devoting all of their effort to Android. I think Samsung and the others want to have OS fragmentation and not be slaves to Android like they are slaves to windows in PCs.

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