iPhone 5 to Sprint and The Struggles of RIM

on Wednesday, August 24, 2011

As I ponder which new cellphone device to purchase, I just read the news that Sprint will be offering the iPhone 5 this October. Sprint will still have to address their "bad service" stigma that looms large in the American consumer conscience, but now iPhone and Android will be available on all three major US carriers. This leaves one strange, and confused entity in the smartphone world: RIM Blackberry and the new Blackberry 7 operating system. Wall Street is showing signs that RIM is losing the high-end of the smartphone market to Google and Apple and is starting to become a low-end bargain supplier to the market. The Blackberry brand, corporate loyalty to the brand, and email are their strongest assets. No one buys a Blackberry for the operating system. RIM also spends valuable time and resources on their operating system and app development community.

So what is the solution to RIM's losing strategies? Android on Blackberry! If RIM was to adopt the Android OS, it would be a huge market gain for Android, and send Apple's iOS on the defensive. Additionally, RIM would gain ground in the non-business, young consumer demographic groups they so desperately need. But wait, there's a potentially devastating side to this. If RIM adopted Android, they would become just another player in the already-crowded field of Android device suppliers. They could rapidly devalue if they don't correctly right-size and restructure the company along with the switch to Android. They would also have to spend significant resources porting their back-end servers over to Android. It is definitely a tough situation to be in, but something needs to be done before they become the next Palm.

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