Should RIM use webOS?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: December 24, 2011

You know how you should be able to tell that I am still rooting for the underdog? Why, after everything that has happened and the fact that I’m not going to see the launch of a new BlackBerry device until the end of 2012 sometime, I’m still hoping beyond any kind of reasonable amount of hope that something turns around for Research In Motion? Because I’m tossing out ideas, options. I have asked if a certain feature on a “new” device was the final nail in RIM’s coffin, and I could very well ask that same question again with the recent news that has been popping up, but I won’t. Because, for one, I just refuse to think it is. And, perhaps most importantly, there are still options.

We know that the Waterloo-based company that has made BlackBerry a household name still has ideas to make the company stay afloat. But, in today’s ever-changing market just staying afloat may not be good enough anymore. RIM needs something to actually wow the audience out there, to bring back not only the customers out there who have ditched the BlackBerry logo for something else entirely, but also the enterprise market. RIM is seemingly losing everything: its customer base. But not all hope is lost, even if the picture is painted quite dire at this point. RIM has the potential to turn it around, but they need to stop living in a vacuum.

There’s no doubt that manufacturers out there, from RIM to Samsung to HTC, all have a certain way of looking at things. It has never been more evident in the emergence of custom and proprietary user interfaces. There’s just an inherent way that these executives think you want, or should, use your phone. That’s all well and good, and it leads to diversity. TouchWiz UI doesn’t necessarily look or act like Sense UI, and that’s fantastic. And while BlackBerry’s have their own unique look and feel, it isn’t the hardware that is driving people away. So RIM needs a change, and obviously the people that are making the software decisions within the company right now just aren’t cutting it.

They need to start thinking about of the box. And while licensing out the BlackBerry OS may be one strategy, there are plenty of others to look at. Taylor had a great idea: incorporate Android into the fold and start making some “DroidBerry” devices. People want that. But, you know what else people want, which so happens to be heading to the open source world? webOS.

Yes, that’s right, you read that correctly. Up until recently even talking about this was way more of a pipe dream than anything else. Actually, it probably still is, basing the fact that we’re talking about RIM upper-management here. But! That shouldn’t stop us, the people who would love to see a BlackBerry-branded piece of hardware with the webOS software under the hood, from speaking out and making our desires heard, right?

Because there has to be a point where the management at RIM comes out of their shell long enough to actually see and hear what is being said about their company. And I’m not talking about the analysts or pundits, or even the journalists. I’m talking about you, the reader. The fans who don’t want to see BlackBerry die, or even the people who don’t necessarily care about that, but just want the amazing hardware running another piece of software. There are still options out there, and no one should ever say there isn’t. (I’m not really sure there are a lot of people out there saying there aren’t many options, but I know of a few.)

RIM may be running out of time because they aren’t Microsoft; RIM doesn’t have all the time in the world to make decisions. If you’ve ever used a BlackBerry device, then you know the hardware is right where it needs to be. And if you’ve ever used webOS, then you are more than likely saddened by the fact it won’t be seeing the light of day on new smartphone designs anytime soon. So this is where RIM should swoop in, negotiate something with HP, and start pushing out webOS-based BlackBerry devices.

Make 2012 count for something more than just more negative talk about your demise, RIM. Think outside of the box. Embrace the technology and software that has evolved in our world today, instead of shunning it and just hoping that “it will all work out.” Go after what you want, by any means necessary.

Make it happen.