To say it's been an interesting year for Research in Motion and BlackBerry would certainly be an understatement. It was about 10 months ago that we first learned that RIM's tablet would be capable of running full-fledged Android applications, and suddenly we had to start caring about what was coming out of Waterloo.
This week RIM has undergone probably its most important change since realizing SurePress wasn't a sure thing -- co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down as co-CEOs, and chief operating officer Thorsten Heins has taken their place in the head office. There have been calls for RIM to adopt Android. There have been calls fro RIM to adopt Windows Phone. Really, everybody seems to know what's best for RIM.
Our pals at CrackBerry got some one-on-one time with Heins this week, and we're learning a little more about his position on Android -- mainly that he's unimpressed with the hardware on which it's running. "They are all the same," he says.
Here's what Heins told CrackBerry's Kevin Michaluk:
Kevin: I keep reading these articles that BlackBerry should build on Android, but I just don't understand them.
Thorsten: Just take a look where the Android OEMs are. I leave this to you. Take a look at their recent announcements and what you will immediately see is there is just no room for differentiation because they are all the same.
We've seen a lot of Android devices over the past year. Some good, some not. A lot of black slabs, to be sure. But also a dual-screen phone. Two phones with 3D screens. BlackBerry-esque phones with tiny screens and quint little keyboards. Thinner, lighter, faster, with web browsers that actually work and games you're not ashamed to play in public. Android hardware manufacturers might be guilty of too many models, but you certainly can't say they haven't experimented, even if it led to failure.
Before Heins bemoans the "sameness" of Android hardware, perhaps another look at RIM's own stable is in order.