Okay, let me start off by saying, I’m not a fan of RIM (Research in Motion) or as I like to call them Research in Molasses. If you’ve ever been to my site, TechHog.com, you’ve probably seen at least one example of my anger towards them. Allow me to explain before I get to my point. I have always said from the beginning that RIM makes great quality, and durable, phones. They make and receive calls with very few being dropped and they’ve been a staple of the corporate world for years now. But, when Apple announced the iPhone, they balked at it. They more-or-less laughed at the idea they would be a threat. So when Apple really started to dent into RIM’s market share that it held for so long, you’d think someone over there would peek their head out of the prairie hole and take a look around. Alas, that’s not the case. RIM still puts out phones that look like they did 5 years ago. When it comes to upgrades all they really seem to do is increase the processor speed a little, add a little more memory and polish up the old models with more current specs. But as Apple and Android have proven, people want power, yes, but they also want aesthetics. They want a phone that has all the bells and whistles, like GPS, Internet, emails, NFC, and more. But they also want a phone that looks good and will stand out in a crowd. This is the area that RIM has just failed to pick up on and for this I get frustrated. I get frustrated that this company has not one but TWO CEO’s getting paid way to much to do nothing. Their key product is failing and they are losing market share faster than a cheetah riding in a Ferrari that’s strapped to a freaking rocket (a little much?…yeah I know) while competitors like Apple, Android and even Microsoft are gaining. Yet, somehow these two buffoons are keeping their jobs.
I love competition and when big electronic companies fight it out, we win. So sue me if I want to see RIM keep up and battle it out and make Apple, Google and Microsoft provide more features for less money. Look what competition did for video games:price drops all over place, better quality “first” party games, better hardware specs. Competition just breeds success and RIM isn’t innovating, it’s stealing.
Which leads me to my point. I love Android and my HTC EVO 4G. I love that Google keeps pushing the envelope and keeps giving their users (Fandroids) all the latest tech, almost always free of charge. Google’s engineers have worked very hard to build an exciting platform that has engaged millions of users all over the world. So when I saw that RIM was going to open its PlayBook tablet (and possible Blackberry QNX phones) to play Android based games and apps, I was a little pissed and a little excited. I’m more pissed than anything but I’m not sure which way I should go with my feelings.
On one hand we have RIM basically saying to the world, our App World sucks and we need a way to engage users so we’ll let our customers use Apps from our competitor on our devices. This part of the situation disgusts me. It disgusts me that RIM, rather then spend the money, time and research (hence their name) to develop and create engaging products that developers would WANT to make apps for, they, for lack of a better term, STEAL Android’s apps. While the Android Market won’t be on any Blackberry products, the apps will be usable. Granted, the only apps that will be there are ones that developers take the time to cross over. Meaning, you can’t just install any .apk file and have it work on the the BB OS. Developers can basically take their existing apps on the Android Market and then run them in a BB OS converting tool so they play on the their [blackberry] devices. This to me seems like a last ditch effort for RIM. Since they can’t entice developers to make apps just for them, they’ll get developers to convert apps for them.
Which leads me to the other hand. This could be good for Android, as it points out the extreme popularity of the OS and that it’s being looked at as a leader (which in the US, it is) and thus will bring more attention to it. It could also help with developers and apps on Android. If a developer wants to get the most out of the app they can spend the time laboring away on the Android version and then simply port/convert it to the BB QNX OS. Giving them two avenues to sell it and only about half the work. The idea of this could be very appealing to smaller developers who are tired of having to develop their apps twice (iOS and Android). Plus it puts the apps on the Android Market, first!
Either way though I still can’t shake the feeling that Android is being screwed here and that RIM is getting away with something it shouldn’t. I feel like Google should step in and say something to the effect of “Any application or game that is developed for the Android Market can’t simply be rigged to work on a competitors device.” But then I look at it again and it’s really not their choice where apps end up, it’s a choice of the developers. Certainly Google is not going to just port their Google branded apps over as that would be like giving your enemy the keys to the castle.
In the end, I don’t know how much success this will bring to RIM, as they still need to convince developers why they should even waste the time porting apps to their devices. Afterall, RIM is still sinking like the Titanic and with the Playbook getting luke warm reviews with a glitchy OS, very few apps and no native email or calendar, amongst other features, it’s only a matter of time before they hit the ocean bottom.