Despite the competition between RIM and Apple, the two have always had one thing in common when it came to their smartphones. Both companies offered their phones as an integrated software/hardware platform. Unlike Google’s Android operating system, which is open source and available to any manufacturer that wants it for free, BlackBerry and iOS software has only ever run on BlackBerry phones and Apple’s iOS devices, respectively.
That may be about to change for BlackBerry, though. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, newly-minted RIM President and CEO Thorsten Heins spoke of numerous changes coming to the BlackBerry platform. One of those changes was a potential willingness to license the forthcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system to other handset manufacturers. While he insisted that BlackBerry would remain an integrated hardware-software platform, he also said that he would be willing to entertain licensing offers from other manufacturers if the offers made good strategic sense for RIM.
BlackBerry 10, which is set to release sometime this year, is the next major iteration of the BlackBerry mobile operating system. It employs technology obtained by RIM in their purchase of QNX Software Systems, a company acquired by RIM in 2010. The software was originally named BBX until a lawsuit by BASIS Software forced them to abandon the name in favor of BlackBerry 10.