Will RIM adopt Android? A very interesting thought indeed. But why or not would RIM do such a thing? Some thoughts below:
Why this would be unlikely?
- “Not built here” mentality — this is probably the biggest hurdle for them. There will be internal people resistant to the change, resistant to drastic changes and “throwing away” all legacy work, but sometimes, this must be done;
- “Why promote a competitor” mentality — this would be a weak argument, due to the “pros” – see below.
Why this would be likely?
- Deliver more value while reducing overall investments/expenses;
- Overall reduced Build of Materials (BOM) costs — reduced R&D related to OS; reduce OS team size that instead can focus on value for end-users (apps) and developers. No need to re-invent App Stores. Leverage Google infrastructure (such as Maps which will be an expected feature by end-users) while adding own differentiators on top;
- Android OS is advanced and customizable, and open — OSes are complicated and expensive handset elements. Android is based on Linux which is stable, which is open, and which is proven. The Android APIs are robust. The whole environment is open. And is community-based. Able to add own differentiators on top;
- Java-based satisfies current developer base — no new programming languages to learn or adapt to. Tons of tools that already exists, from UI to IDEs;
- Provides migration path — RIM can decide to continue exposing existing BB Java-based APIs and application life-cycles as needed on top of Android as a migration path;
- IDE tools already in place — Eclipse is a very good IDE. There is NetBeans too. Both are open and community based and very complete. There would be no need for their own BlackBerry-specific Java-IDE and that t team can instead focus on BlackBerry-specific extensions to Eclipse, NetBeans and/or other – in other words, a much cheaper route to developer tools than developing or maintaining developer tools from the ground up;
- Business models provided by Google — such as search, Maps, other and provide additional revenue streams for RIM.
As you can see, there are a number of positives for going the Android path; let’s see what will happen.
BTW, the above also applies to Nokia, but let’s see if they end up buying Palm instead…