Looks as though RIM has decided to take the licensing route after all, allowing manufacturers to create their own BlackBerry 10 devices. Bloomberg reports that the new platform is in the final stages of testing, and that the company is currently trying to determine how other smartphone makers will be able to use RIM’s range of products.
On Monday, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said that the BlackBerry 10 platform is based on QNX, software that’s already licensed out to be used in cars, nuclear plants and military drones. “QNX is already licensed across the automotive sector — we could do that with BB10 if we chose to,” Heins admitted. “The platform can be licensed.”
Heins said that he wants RIM to expand beyond smartphones and tablets, moving into other areas of mobile computing and what he describes as “machine-to-machine” communications. Still, for now the smartphone sector is the company’s bread and butter, and BlackBerry 10, which is essentially a fresh start for the fledgeling company, will be the make-it-or-break-it factor come 1Q13.
Licensing out the new OS has been a topic of discussion within RIM’s offices for some time as the company weighs its future. Previously there have been reports that Samsung had an interest in licensing the new BlackBerry platform, and IBM has even talked about acquiring the enterprise aspect if BlackBerry 10 actually tanks next year.
Presently RIM produces its own products, but thanks to the success of Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and Google’s saturation of the smartphone sector using Android, RIM is looking beyond serving as a sole Blackberry device maker by licensing out BlackBerry 10 so that the new platform can saturate the market more quickly. Currently Google’s Android dominates the market, a place RIM could arrive if it in fact takes the licensing route as indicated.
“We’re here to win,” he said, referring to how BlackBerry 10 will change its position in the smartphone market. “We’re not here to fight for third or fourth place.”
RIM is seemingly riding on fumes as it works to bring BlackBerry 10 devices to the market in 1Q13. The company has placed its bets and is depending on the platform’s upcoming success. Until then, investors are riding a stock roller coaster as prices rise and fall due to various reports. Company shares fell 2.1-percent to $8.12 at 2:47 p.m. today in New York after six straight days of gains. Overall the stock has lost 95-percent of its value since its mid-2008 high.