BlackBerry RIP (image 001)

Research In Motion saw its fortunes spectacularly erased in a few short years following the iPhone’s release in the summer of 2007. Fast-forward to 2015 and the company is now considering  putting Google’s Android software on its phones in a complete U-turn for the Canadian handset maker, according to a report Friday by Reuters.

It’s unclear whether the rumored switch would spell the end of the company’s own BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system.

RIM once dominated smartphone sales but now has a market share of less than one percent. Moreover, a former BlackBerry CEO has publicly admitted that Apple’s iPhone has single-handily killed his company’s treasured BlackBerry family of smartphones famed for their enterprise security and clickety-clack keyboards.

“BlackBerry will probably use Android on an upcoming slider device that is likely to be released this autumn,” reads the report. “The slider will combine a touch screen with a physical keyboard that users can use if they prefer.”

It could come with some of the patented features in the company’s BlackBerry 10 software, according to four sources familiar with the matter who posit that the move to use Android is part of RIM’s focus on software and device management rather than hardware sales.

“We don’t comment on rumors and speculation, but we remain committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched,” said the firm in an email.

Former RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie has publicly admitted that the iPhone has killed BlackBerry smartphones, saying he knew RIM couldn’t compete with the iPhone after BlackBerry’s buggy Storm smartphone which had a screen that clicked when pressed had a “100 percent return rate,” according to The Associated Press.

Here’s one of the Storm ads that attempted to push the handset.

“With Storm we tried to do too much. It was a touch display, it was a clickable display, it had new applications, and it was all done in an incredibly short period of time and it blew up on us,” Balsillie said.

“That was the time I knew we couldn’t compete on high end hardware.”

His comment came during a Q&A session with journalists Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, the authors of the book on BlackBerry’s demise titled “Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry”.

It marks the first time Balsillie has spoken publicly about RIM since leaving the company, its board and selling all his stock in 2012.

“Losing the Signal” is available on Amazon.com and Apple’s iBooks Store.

Source: Reuters, The Associated Press

  • Mr Mop

    FYI, RIM changed its name to BlackBerry in 2013.

  • Mark S

    You killed your own phone by failing to innovate. Don’t blame your misfortunes on someone else. I know that’s what our society likes to do: create excuses for our own failures and blame it on others and what they did. This is on you Blackberry and not on Apple. Lead, follow or get the heck out of the way.

  • Byron C Mayes

    Actually it was Android that killed Blackberry, not the iPhone. The first two iterations of the iPhone were groundbreaking to be sure, but Bb types turned up their noses and called it an expensive “toy.” Blackberry did just what they needed and cost less (per unit anyway).

    It wasn’t until Android phones came on the market and validated the iPhone model by offering true competition that RIM/Bb began to really feel the heat. Didn’t want/couldn’t afford an iPhone, but still wanted to advance beyond late 1990s technology? The first Android phones offered an alternative. The smartphone category was officially mature and Blackberry wasn’t part of it. Then Android started showing up on real phones — that just happened to work very well with Google Apps for Business — and people started taking them to work. BES servers couldn’t be justified as expenses anymore. Blackberry lost it’s only niche (failing miserably at its overtures to the consumer market) was officially dead.

    Twas Android that killed the Blackberry.

    • I’m pretty sure it was both. Hard to be exact when their fans went jumped to either ship.

    • Kurt

      iPhones were the best phones from iPhone 2G-4S. Blackberry didn’t stand a chance Especially with Android taking over. Sorry blackberry, sorry Nokia…

    • Tommy Gumbs

      Your pretty much right on point.

  • Kurt

    Apple should apologize to Blackberry for destroying them.

    • Yeah, Apple is really big on apologizing to it’s competition…

  • Andrew

    My dad had a Blackberry Storm and he loved it. It was his first foray into the smartphone world. He now owns a Z10 and used to love it, but recently it’s been driving him up the wall, and he even said he might think about getting an iPhone (even though he’s very anti-Apple).

    • My dad was Anti-Apple too, until I gave him my old 4S and now he says he will never use a different phone again.

  • Chris Wagers

    So they still push blackberry 10 because of its unmatched security and yet they think of putting android on their devices? They won’t be able to push security as a marketing strategy when they do that. Eh… Maybe I’m wrong.

    • Kurt

      Different OS, different user base, different statergy. I think they could do both.

    • Android is secure, but still has many spyware services built-in by Google. If they implement an iOS-like permissions control layer (like App Ops, which f’n Google removed from stock Android) and give users the full control over all app permissions, then they have a just-as-secure solution on Android, with a lot more flexibility added.
      App Store malware, that’s rare, but would still be under the user’s control with such permissions control.

    • Benedict

      The good thing is that you can turn off all unwanted or potential insecure content. They don’t need to use Google Play Store for their apps. Instead they could build up their own with “Blackberry certified” apps. Also they don’t need to use Google Services or others. Therefore Android is very secure.

  • BlackBerry please roll over and die already. Nobody wants your hardware anymore apart from businesses and even that’s debatable…

    • Kaptivator

      Agreed…My place of employment ditched BB’s for Samsung running Android. Now we are in a slow transition to iPhone’s.

  • Rowan09

    Why a keyboard in 2015 on a smartphone? Blackberry still doesn’t get it and if they go Android I would assume a forked version instead of just one with a skin.

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    I respect the BlackBerry, it was truly the best smartphone pre-iPhone 3GS (in my opinion) and I hope that they don’t consider Android as a solution. What set them aside from others was the blazing-fast email fetching (I would literally get emails minutes before they reached my inbox on any other phone or web browser) and their enterprise encryption and Android is far from that. Don’t get me wrong, I love the iPhone but they were practically useless (or non-existent) outside of the U.S. till the iPhone 3G era, prior to that, they were irrelevant outside of the U.S. Prior to purchasing the iPhone 3GS (my 1st iPhone ever) I had the BlackBerry Bold 9000 and it was indispensable, who else remembers the BlackBerry Bold and Curve? Those multicolour LED indicators for notifications? BBM? The track-ball? That amazingly clear screen that even to this day is super clear? The super-fast email fetching and the battery the lasted days with heavy usage and without the need to charge it every single day? Despite being an avid iPhone enthusiast, the BlackBerry will always have that special place in my heart smartphone/tech-wise.

    • Sokrates

      I remember that and find it so true. Well said! I’ve owned all the iPhones since the 3G but you’ll find me occasionally clicking on my old Bold, just for fun. BB were beautiful, elegant phones. Just stylish.

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        Absolutely true! I wish I still had my BB Bold 9000 (not the newer version with the newer more stupid OS and that touch trackpad). Definitely the most fun and stuff-got-done moments I had with that phone. It just worked wonderfully, kind of like Snow Leopard on the Mac, it just worked, simple as that!

  • singhay559

    You need more than a different mobile system to having consumers buying your product again. Perhaps a mobile phone thats dedicated to college students somehow.