By Rich W Woods
Recently, I came up with an idea. The idea was to create a new section on For the Love of Tech called “What If…” It is a way for geeks like us to say “What if iPhones were powered by Android?” or “What if there were smart phones that were powered by a Core i7?” The idea was that we could all geek out and it would spark discussions and above all, it will be fun! The “What if?” we will discuss here will be as to what would happen if Blackberry made Windows Phones?
First, a history lesson. Blackberry used to be called Research in Motion (RIMM) that made very popular smart phones. They were known for their physical keyboards and strong security features. Then, the iPhone came out and as the iPhone became more popular, RIMM went into decline. As a last ditch resort, they changed the name of the company to the name of their product, Blackberry, and created their newest operating system, Blackberry 10 (BB10), and made an attempt to recapture the smart phone market.
Blackberry continues to make new smart phones and the public continues to feel sorry for them. Out of the nine smart phones created using the BB10 platform, five of them use Blackberry’s trademark physical keyboard. After all, the final people to hold out on switching to an iPhone did it because they love that physical keyboard.
There is no room in the smart phone industry for four operating systems. Obviously, Apple and Google aren’t going anywhere in the smart phone market. The problem with having four main operating systems is that developers have to create four versions of their apps. It’s just too much.
What if Microsoft and Blackberry Joined Forces?
Recently, Microsoft released a universal Bluetooth keyboard. Universal meaning that it works on Android, iOS, Mac OS, Chrome OS, Windows, and Windows RT. You might notice that Windows Phone is missing from that list. This is because Windows Phones lacks support for Bluetooth keyboards.
Blackberry, however, is famous for physical keyboards on their phones. If Blackberry started using the Windows Phone operating system on their phones, a lot of problems could be solved.
All Windows Phones come with Microsoft Office Mobile preinstalled. There’s a major problem with that though. How can Office be a selling point on a phone that doesn’t support Bluetooth keyboards or native printing? Heck, who uses a Bluetooth keyboard with a phone anyway?
Just imagine that. A Windows Phone with a physical keyboard. Obviously, Microsoft would have to push out an update to the operating system to support the screen dimensions of Blackberry phones and to support the keyboard, but once they did, for the first time, there would actually be a valid use for Office Mobile on a phone.
What would the future bring?
Microsoft was the company to bring the keyboard to the tablet with Surface. Why not bring the keyboard to the phone with Blackberry?
Microsoft needs to give potential customers a reason to purchase a Windows Phone. They do great on the global low end market, but their flagship Windows Phones haven’t been entirely popular. After all, is there a good reason to choose Windows Phone over Android?
What would the future bring if Microsoft partnered with Blackberry to make Windows Phones? Since Blackberry is very close to the end, I could see Microsoft buying Blackberry and it would be a great addition to the Microsoft family. With Nokia’s design talent and Blackberry’s security talent, Microsoft could be on to something great.