RIM’s first range of QNX-based smartphones could run Android apps, boosting their appeal
BlackBerry maker RIM is planning to bring Android apps to its smartphones in order to boost their appeal and reverse slipping sales.
Three people familiar with the “secret” plan say that BlackBerrys handset running the firm’s QNX operating system will launched early next year and will be Android compatible, reports Bloomberg.
It will be the same Android app player that is overdue for the PlayBook tablet but with the relevant adjustments for screen size and resolution, according to Bloomberg.
“If you get the tonnage of Android apps and the top 50 apps through BlackBerry’s App World, that addresses many of the concerns people have about RIM’s ecosystem,” Steven Li, a Raymond James analyst in Toronto told Bloomberg.
RIM acquired QNX Software Systems from Harman International in 2010 and is keen to see it feature across its portfolio although currently the PlayBook tablet is the only device running it.
App ghost town
BlackBerry’s relative dearth of apps and aging smartphone portfolio have made Android and Apple’s ascendancy to the top of a market RIM helped create easier than it should have been.
According to Gartner, BlackBerry’s share of the global market dropped to 11.7 percent in the second quarter of 2011 compared to 18.7 percent the year before, a long way behind Apple’s 18.1 percent and Android’s 43.3 percent.
With RIM haemorrhaging market share there has been an increasing sense of malaise around the brand which it hopes the four new devices it has launched in the last two weeks can help shake off.
The new Bold, Torch, Touch and Curve phones are based on the BlackBerry 7 update to its standard OS which RIM is relying on to reverse its slide until the first QNX “superphones” arrive.
But RIM’s problems run deeper than devices. It recently announced it would shed 2,000 members of staff and its first quarter revenues were down a huge 12 percent to £3 billion. Its unconventional management structure featuring two CEOs has also come in for criticism from investors.