I don’t normally stray into the world of mobile devices, but the widely reported news that Blackberry’s next smartphone will run on Google’s Android OS rather than its own proprietary software is something to take notice of.
This is a very logical move following the development of Business Enterprise Server 12 (BES12) to manage enterprise mobile devices running on iOS, Windows Phone, or Android. Furthermore, back in February the company extended the server to work with devices running Android Lollipop.
From its inception Blackberry has been focused on the enterprise and with Enterprise Server has been the CIO/CTOs favoured ecosystem for mobile enterprise communications ever since.
However, despite the strength and maturity of its own OS and the associated software (IMHO the Blackberry Playbook was a great device), it has lost market share most notably to iPhones and the diverse range of smartphones running Android. Latest reports indicate the it only has 1.5% of the US market for new devices. With Microsoft now also offering credible enterprise-ready mobile devices, the writing is not just on the wall for Blackberry, but the ceiling and floor as well.
When Blackberry started as Research In Motion (RIM) it had to build it’s own devices and OS, nothing else was up to the security requirement of enterprise (particularly government) organisations.
Whilst I don’t expect an overnight drop in the (still amazingly common) sight of executives putting an iPhone or Samsung next to a Blackberry on the table at meetings, this is a useful announcement for the CIO/CTO, still juggling the three balls of mobile enterprise security, user preference and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).