When talk of an acquisition becomes a reality, it's pretty evident that things have once been much better for the Waterloo-based company, Research In Motion.

The BlackBerry makers started feeling a bit of turbulence back when the original iPhone first launched, and even more so with the first popular Android devices like the Motorola DROID and HTC EVO 4G, which made their appearances in late 2009 and early 2010, respectively. Those popular devices, of course, were quickly followed up by newer, more advanced Android devices, and so on and so forth. Here we are today and the BlackBerry as we know it is approaching antique status. Even RIM's latest attempt with BlackBerry 7, albeit a large step forward, still fell quite short of expectations and the competition.

The good news is, RIM is hard at work on their next batch of BlackBerrys, which (again) are supposed to put them back on the map, and possibly "leapfrog the competition." So says co-CEO Jim Balsillie, at least. The next round of RIM-made handsets will feature a totally somewhat new operating system that is a mashup of BlackBerry OS and QNX, as featured on the BlackBerry PlayBook. The problem is, however, these devices are now slated for the second half of 2012 – long past their originally expected due date, possibly beyond their own expiration date.

While I have no doubt that BlackBerry 10 handsets will be another noble attempt from Research In Motion – they do, after all, have a few tricks up their sleeve yet – the industry isn't waiting around for RIM to catch up. Neither are customers. A slew of former BlackBerry enthusiasts (myself included) have since moved on to bigger and better things. The software just isn't there anymore; it's archaic and still strongly reminiscent of every other iteration of BlackBerry OS. BlackBerry 10 looks promising, but I'm not about to hold my breath.

Even with a much-needed new start, it may still be a day late and a dollar short. Those fanatics who have moved on have likely already invested themselves (read: spent money on apps and become accustomed to platform-specific services) in a new platform. Unlucky for RIM, getting them to switch back will be harder than just casting out a new line with fresh bait and hoping customers will bite. No, my guess is they will be more reluctant to come back now than ever.

While software might not be able to do it, if there is always one thing that can keep me coming back to BlackBerry, it's hardware. The build quality of RIM's high-end models has always been topnotch, and those keyboards ... Oh, those keyboards have always been second to none, and they've only proven to get better with time.

It's high time time RIM considers some options. Assuming The Wall Street Journal's sources are in fact correct, we know RIM is weighing their options with licensing BlackBerry 10. Licensing is a good start, but I think RIM is looking in the completely wrong direction.

Why would anyone want to equip their devices with BlackBerry software at this point? Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind trying a Samsung or HTC phone running the latest BlackBerry software ... just to see. But I don't think companies such as those will be so eager to get in bed with the competition that has fallen from the top to near rock bottom in the US smartphone market in just a few short years.

I wrote an article back in August detailing the perfect phone for me: RIM hardware with MIUI (a custom build of Android). Granted, some things have changed quite a bit since August, and it may no longer be the "perfect" phone for me. But for all intents and purposes, that opinion still stands. I would love nothing more than a modified BlackBerry running Android. A DroidBerry, if you will.

Think about it. RIM has always had trouble pleasing both the consumer and business markets with the same line of devices. Each user base has drastically different needs, so supplying two radically different end users with the same product was never going to work quite as well as they planned. And while RIM has never exactly shown interest in using someone else's software, they have decided to leech off of the much larger Android Market for a broader selection of applications. QNX and Android are closely related software; maybe, just maybe, they could be open to a much larger, more serious licensing deal in the opposite direction. And it just so happens that Android would be the one to require minimal changes to the existing game plan.

Not by any means do I think RIM should abandon their BlackBerry 10 efforts. But they should embrace it for what it is (business-centric software) while exploring different options. The first of which, should be considering marketing BlackBerry 10 handsets towards business users (and still offering them to consumers who may still want them) and offering a more consumer-centric OS, presumably something like Android or even webOS, to basic users.

Some Android OEMs have tried to replicate the classic BlackBerry front-facing QWERTY form factor with little to no success. The DROID Pro and all later variants (Admiral, XPRT, Titanium, etc.) have been less-than-spectacular. And HTC's attempt, the Cha-Cha, wasn't much of a success either. But imagine a well-executed, high-end RIM-made device (as pictured above) running Ice Cream Sandwich. There is obviously a market for such a device – a lot of former BlackBerry users found themselves on Android. I'm sure a lot of them wouldn't mind a perfect mashup of the two.

Who knows, it could be a huge success. Likewise, the whole thing could crash and burn. But where would that leave RIM? Probably not far from where they are now. If nothing else, it could buy them a little time. Not hearing a peep from RIM until the latter half of 2012 is only going to further hurt their ever-dwindling mind share. At least mention of something like this could spark some interest, if only to a niche market, and help bide time.

The chances of something like this ever happening are less likely than Aaron copying my hair style. Nonetheless, it's food for thought and something RIM should at least consider. What say you? Should Research In Motion explore a different operating system for marketing towards average consumers? Should they use webOS or Android? Something else? Or should they stick to their already-failing game plan?

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115 Reactions to this post

"Should RIM move towards Android?"

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Anonymous fuck rim. rim wants to ruin android. while androids amazing rims shit why buy a blackberry with andorid
Anonymous See NYTimes technology 12/26/11 – Phonedog is a legal bully
Anonymous rim is shit fuck of rim
Anonymous It would be a smart choice. I would rather have ios than rim, and I really do not prefer ios at all. I think since ICS was released, heck even Froyo, Rims sales have really gone down.
Issam El Kouartey Yes. It would save rim.
Tyler Saddington i hate rim so much that if they were to make android devices i would have to burn my nexus s running ICS
Jose Silva Rim should just reinvent the way the way they do bb without merging with androids.
Josh Richardson No, because blackberrys are shit; and so is android- so in my opinion, they should both keep trying to keep on improving there own businesses..
Shantanu Pandey yes of course....
Donna M Byrd Traded yesterday my blackberry for Droid Bionic and LOVING it already<3
Teron Facey If this was to happen Apple will be like little girls and sue them. Apple still going after Samsung for the most stupid reason. The only ones winning are the are lawyers who represent them cause they are getting paid to do nothing.
Alexander Schneider-Siemssen If they want to survive they should. And they should do it fast!
Anthony Andrade What about taking on mee go. Even if it is a dead os.
Anthony Bazaldua RIM should surrender and let Android buy em up. The only thing RIM does right is its new hardware.
Jayson Levin We will need security of blackberry on android and tools on blackberry google tools on all phones
Mario Alan Perez Arreola bb messenger and android rools
Jayson Levin If would be good if they put blackberry apps on android phone
Naga Appani Good Idea, but too late :P
Dave Jones Lol driod berries android oh nvm.
Jacob Grumbles Wake up Jesse. Rim is on its death bed. Businesses around here have have already begun switching to iPhones. Rim was #1 at one point in time but it will take a miracle for them to even get near that again.
Will Scott Hmmm, interesting... I can dig it!
Jesse Ling Here it is;blackberry is a good business tool.its secure,dependable,and doesn't have an over flooded app world with 250 apps that all do the same thing because if you're an average intelligence or better phone user you could do them yourself(unless you're an average lazy american)the reason touch screen tech is doing so well?think this over;what demo graphic influences and purchases nearly all new handset technology?young teen to young adults,basically non business device users.blackberry needs to focus on sharpening their competitive edge in their market niche.faster processers,more security,more business capabilities maybe even wi fi hot spots.rim will not become a sellout and bow down to google because in the end the google and apple bubble is going to pop and rim will resume the throne
Zach Cline Lmao @ The blackberry fanboys. The idiot that thinks that android devices are just toys and touch screen fads is sadly mistaken. Run along and enjoy your outdated two inch screens idiots.
Moses A R Gnzlz no please droid sucks !!!
Joel Moran Totally agree Lamar!
Lamar Curtis I had blackberry's and loved them. But I wasn't using it for business purposes, so I yearned for the "cool" factor that android offered. Immediately I realized that BB WORKED waaaay better than android and did not require multiple chargers and constant monitoring of battery life. At the end of the day, BB are much better phones/business productivity devices. Android and iOS are better to do everything else.
Scott Gesualdi A blackberry ui on an android would be the best of both worlds. Cutting edge hardware and business options like outlook sync and secure email not going the www.
Yang Li customized adroid maybe acceptable
Chris Sutherland No black berry would just f up android
James Adelan Cowie Lmao no way. Rim is way better than android
Josh Alvarez u know what rim should do they shold make a blackberry but that phone should be an android but with their own overlay
Jesse Ling While being open sourced would potentially be a good doorway to improvements on the ui I doubt rim will use android.blackberrys have never been intended to be anything near droid like,and all educated device users who purchase them are aware of this.
Jesse Ling @craig.nothing will ever have dominance on a network with data throttling.period.
Eddie Neugebauer Rim can't buy android ....they don't have enough money....not that google would sell it due to the fact they make a huge profit from it
Eduardo Ordaz Yes they should. They should at least try. Make their UI run on Android. And make better phones. I think yes they should give it a try.
Robert Lee Ingram imagine what black berry could do to its hardware by becoming open source and taking android as its stepping stone.... android tweaked up with a custom ui to make bb devices unique.. a plus for bb and android
Craig Sherman RIM+T-Mobile=DroidBerry Dominance?
Jordan Reckmann Absolutely not! Blackberry should tough it out. I will never own any other brand than Blackberry!
Shawn Towle @Jerry Apple is so afraid of competition I bet they would buy out any of them if they could.
Dan Daniel at this point the ship is taking on water, the women and children have left they need to try something
Jacob Grumbles I haven't seen one bb faster than even a g1. I guess rim is a sellout correct me if I'm wrong but was the storm not a touchscreen or how about that sorry pos torch or whatever it was called.
Jesse Ling Rim should bury android n a sane rational world but its far easier to slap on a few minor technological enhancements and make a generic touchscreen fad piece of crap that resembles every other
Jesse Ling Google wants profit no matter what the cost.the ruined youtube,will probably take motorola in entirely the wrong direction and next up on the chopping block;your beloved blackberry,yes the only device government employees are allowed to use or even be issued will now be made into a high tech insecure compromised rectanuglar toy
King Veenoe Jones RIM Should bury android
Aaron Couts They wanted bb security they should get bought by google instead of getting ran over by them
Jesse Ling BlackBerry is a business tool;not a touchscreen fad for little kids and teens to get because "everyone" has one.if rim moves to android based technology they will most likely flounder and die fast.they need to stick with that they do best and do it better,safer,faster,sharper and cleaner than apple or google.period
Jerry Sturgill Yes, absolutly... Current BBerry tech is just old hat and compares in no way shape or form to droid!
Jason Vargas Yes please
Jason Wyche I've been saying all along Google should purchase Rim before they add the 350th app to the app store.
Jacob Grumbles No they shouldn't rim needs to just hurry up and die already.
Anonymous I like BB OS 7, but I want a better app selection
Daniel Cuadrado Maybe they should come up with a new operating system. That way we can have more choices.
Ariel Alvarez Droidberry nexus lmao
Terrance Thompson Yes they should hire some ex Android engineers
Thomas Matthews Ethan Shargo - yeah but it's sort of dead and there is a very limited amount of apps available.
Gerald Carter II Droidberry
Ariel Alvarez Jerry apple is getting played out.....Samsung is taking ova!!! 53 percent of the USA is running android
Ethan Shrago web os! since its open sourced it would be easy
Adam Beneke I'm all for this! Best battery, best GPS, and best build quality. Now all it needs is the OS to match.
Ariel Alvarez U have a good point robert
Anthony Dunlap No because blackberry hardward is garbage
Nick Dames I have beening saying this!
Hubert John Abiera Haha, I was actually thinking that too @Jerry. They would have been the obvious choice for me if they weren't so closed.
Brandon Johnson If Rim's hardware is bad for blackberry os imagine how shitty it will be running android (the os that is about to unnecessarily be running with quad cores).
Jerry Trujillo Hahhaha @hubert Apple would never join up with another company for anything .... They have there own way of doing things and that's the way always gonna be
Hagop Kalbaklian I say no because android will no longer become open sourced like it is now the security will become abit more secure not allowing you to do what you can do now
Ariel Alvarez Dey not shitty
Hubert John Abiera No, RIM has always provides devices with great memory management. Moving with Android would be contradictory. Android is also more of an everyday person type phone, than it is being a business phone. I think that the day of Android being a geeks-only phone has ended because of Google's great attempt at making the OS easier to use. Windows Phone, I think, is the obvious choice because of their good memory management and already stable enterprise background. WP combined with RIM can clinch the enterprise market. Apple should make a bid since people are wanting more choices from iOS and a RIM iPhone with enterprise server support could enable them to be required company phones.
Ariel Alvarez That would be awesome lol
Ariel Alvarez Yeah mark they can build the phones using blackberry models but have them running android?
George Majao Why not they are both alike "shitty"
Robert Lee Ingram Android does not need to be tainted with another os ..... I think black berry hardware should run android but have a bb ui spaecial to it kin
Ariel Alvarez They would finish apple off for good lmao ( even though they still are)
Mark Gittens Absolutley! I think that can save rim from sure death
Ariel Alvarez It would be cool to have a blackberry touchscreen but running on 2.3 android Wat h it happen lol
Stacie Aitken This would be my dream phone!
Farhan Technologic RimDroid <3 Apple is so gonna be lonely :P
Anonymous blackberry+android=best smartphone line ever
Chaperel Cooper no people needs to have more options
Chris Magee Dead. Company. Walking.
James Drew YES! i would love to bust out my Bold 9000 and run Android on it. Though, it probably wouldn't reach old devices, id love to have a phenomenal physical qwerty with the awesome app market.
Lashonda Jones Neal Mmmm, droidberry...
Matt Miller RIM would do better to adopt WP7 if they don't want to destroy their stake corporate smartphone use. Given Android's security issues, I don't see many businesses following RIM into the Android OS.
Jan Michael Cruz QNX is the way of the future for rim
Cole Mastin Yea use bb hardware with android software
Robert Centennial Webos should be on rims crap
Oscar Ruelas yes they would make a favor to black berry
Alex Smith Rim fails in so aspects -_-
Sean Ryan Yes, just don't be like Motorola and make a really stupid custom interface that makes your phone really buggy. Not to mention any specific names (cough...Droid X2...cough cough!) lol
Jacob Petrie Http://rim.jobs
Greg Kommel yeah. I know many people who are moving away from BB because it just hasn't kept up with the times. Android is blowing BB away.
Donald R. Edman Not a bad idea, build the ultimate smartphone lol
Jose Argumedo No. We don't need less competition, we need more. RIM just has to want to compete instead of making minimal upgrades. They need to "wow" us, but I just don't think they know how.
Robert Centennial Rim should just die I'm tired of having to read about them.
Gabriel Fernandez No.. they shouldn't adopt Android. What they have is perfectly fine with me. I love the Blackberry Bold 9900. It's great all around.
Jesse Juarez What's a RIM ?
Joshua Mitchell As long as bb don't ask for android
Michael Alvarado Castellano I'd by one and give it a shoot
Robert Centennial No there hardware sucks arse.
Drew Smith They should merge with google and combine with the droid platform to stand against apple. Personally.. I'll still use my iPhone.
Joel Rivera Yes! Could You Imagine a Droid BB London?! Oh Yeah!
Spliff Meister As long as I have Bbm nd a Querity Keyboard, I'm on the Boat.
Tito Cruz I think should RIM should be acquired by Samsung.. my POV. lol
Daniel Kallini BBDroid<3
Alex Ruppert Wouldn't hurt to try...
Danu Carrión Perales it will be the ultimate blackberry lol!
Micah Madru Yes, and then see who does better. Nokia with WP7 or RIM with android.

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