New Beginning – The Blackberry OS

Wed, Dec 8, 2010

Biz Arena

Blackberry OS 6 is coming. Research in Motion announcement in April, 2010 that they will be releasing the OS in third quarter of 2010[1] has enticed me to take a deeper look.

While BlackBerry devices are the indisputable leaders when it comes to pocket email machines, the world is moving to the web applications like social networking which their browsers simply aren’t powerful enough to support[2].

The main push behind OS 6 is the failure of RIM to address one of the basic requirements: a good Web browser. Indeed, BlackBerry devices lost market share in 2010[3], while iPhone OS and Android, whose browsers are both based on WebKit[4] — grew. Research in Motion clearly understands the changing trends, but it’s taking a long time to react. In 2009 the company purchased Torch Mobile[5], a development firm that had created Iris, a WebKit-based browser for Microsoft Windows Mobile devices.  Immediately following the purchase, Torch Mobile announced that all work on the Windows Mobile client would cease, presumably so the company could focus efforts on a BlackBerry web client.

On whole, Blackberry is doing well with over 40% market share and specially corporates enjoying its services. Their aggressive campaigns “buy one, get one” Blackberry Curve had been a hit[6].

Problems in Blackberry

Much like Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5, the problem lies at the basic core. I believe Blackberry is making great phones with hardware keywords and need not necessarily try touch screens like Apple. Still, the problem is that Blackberry OS is not a good environment for developers to create apps. Even Google Android is counting success as developer community has accepted it for making third party applications. Microsoft has also c reated interest in developers by launching unique program of paying them for creating Windows Phone 7 apps[7]. The Blackberry OS is a mess of Java APIs that have encrusted over the years on top of an ancient RTOS (real time operating system)[8]. In recent Mobile Conference in Delhi[9], one of developer said “it is easier to make apps for LG phones than Blackberry”. Even, Blackberry is lagging behind in its App World which has failed to attract many.

The end result is that RIM is lagging behind when it comes to wide variety of apps. iPhone has 2,25,000 applications[10] and iOS has been one of the best API for mobile platform. Recently, RIM demonstrated its fairly large number of APIs[11] but in my view its utility of API than numbers that is important.

What’s need to be done

Even RIM’s top management also feel that new core OS is needed. Buy out of QNX[12], which makes a Linux like kernel mostly for cars, indicates sign of moving into that direction. The good thing for the company is its current applications are in Java and while offering new APIs, Blackberry OS can run these apps using virtual machine compatibility layer.

Lastly, much like iPhone they need to create that ‘x factor’ for their hardware. And if it wants to go beyond selling emailing phones, it needs to rebuild Blackberry OS which should serve as platform for building customer oriented apps.


[1]Official BlackBerry 6 Preview Video from WES 2010 April 2010. Retrieved 5Sept 2010.

[2] accessed on 5 Sept, 2010

[3]comScoreMobiLens Report 2010

[4]Open Source – WebKit Apple

[5] Official Communication on Torch Mobile Website

[6]Cnet News, BlackBerry Curve outsells the iPhone 3G, 4 May 2009

[7] Report by Business Week, can be accessed on

[8] PC Magazine Aug 2010, Blackberry’s Fresh Start, U.S. edition

[9] Organized by Community of web-security enthusiasts in New Delhi, India on 28 Aug, 2010

[10] Apple Insider Published article, 7 June 2010

[11] Adam Ostrow, RIM and AT&T Unveil “The Best BlackBerry Device Ever” on, Aug 2010

[12] QNX News Release, accessed on 5 Sept, 2010


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3 Responses to “New Beginning – The Blackberry OS”

  1. Reema Says:

    Nice article. Blackberry OS has really tough competition now.

  2. Entrepreneur Says:

    Nicely written Saumya…very detailed article on Blackberry OS 6

  3. krishnamoorthy Says:

    Hi Saumya, thanks for your update. really its very helpful for us. soon i’l also update my blackberry mobile os soon. i got good knowledge about the problems coming in blackberry

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