RIM & Lenovo: there will be no alliance, but it would be cool!

    Tomorrow Research in Motion (RIM) will officially unveil a smartphone (or maybe not one) on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. On the eve of the presentation, several unexpected statements were made about the possible future of this software platform, which, in fact, encouraged me to understand That prepares the market for the appearance of BB10 and the return of RIM to the it-mainstream.


    I think it would not be a big exaggeration to say that BB10 is one of the most anticipated software products for the entire, albeit very short, history of the mobile it-industry. So they waited except for MeeGo from Nokia and Intel. All the more unexpectedly, a statement was made by RIM CEO Torsten Haines that after the launch of the platform, RIM could sell its unit for the production of mobile devices. At first glance, the analogy with the statement by Nokia before the release of the long-awaited N9 smartphone on the MeeGo Harmattan that it will be the first and only product of the company on the new OS is obvious. But it was not there. Torsten Haines made a reservation that we are talking about a possible strategic alliance with another company and transferring licenses to it to use the RIM infrastructure in order to create the most competitive offer on the market. That is, the case with Nokia's MeeGo Harmattan is completely different.

    The question of what kind of strategic partner Torsten Haines could speak of did not go unanswered for a long time. Lenovo CFO Wong Wai Ming, in an interview with Bloomberg at his Davos Economic Forum, said the company had already consulted with RIM about the possibility of joint business and the creation of a strategic alliance. Naturally, while no decision has been made, it will depend on the success of the BlackBerry 10 platform, both among developers and end users. Later, however, Lenovo officially reassured everyone, saying that you should not exaggerate the statement of the company representative. Lenovo has no specific intentions regarding cooperation with RIM.

    Nevertheless, nothing prevents us from hypothetically presenting such an alliance. Moreover, in theory, it looks very justified. No matter how good RIM would have gone after the Z10 smartphone went on sale, it would be difficult for the company alone to resist Android, iOS and WP8 devices. And then there is Ubunta, Firefox, Tizen and Sailfish on the way, so RIM is really desirable to cooperate with some powerful manufacturer. But with whom, if not with Lenovo? ZTE and Huawei are immediately swept away due to conflict with North American authorities. HTC? - It may be, in principle, but it is unlikely that HTC will get involved in such a large-scale project (about the potential scale of BB10 - below). Acer - It is also possible, because the company is not doing well: computer sales are falling, and the company's products are clearly not shining in the mobile segment. On the other hand, for precisely these reasons, Acer can be dropped. Here, it seems to me, already RIM will not lead to such an alliance. ASUS - it may well be! Especially considering a product like PadFone. But on the other hand, ASUS has already kind of stated that the next generation of PadFone will be on Windows. And yet, I would not discount ASUS. This company is very wise, quite technological and strong enough, so such an alliance cannot be ruled out. Still, Lenovo looks like the most preferred option. quite technological and strong enough, so such an alliance cannot be ruled out. Still, Lenovo looks like the most preferred option. quite technological and strong enough, so such an alliance cannot be ruled out. Still, Lenovo looks like the most preferred option.

    In baggage y RIM

    It is customary to say that RIM is not going through the best of times, and this is partly true, but only partly, because in every story there are ups and downs - this is normal. On the North American continent, BlackBerry qwerty communicators were the main business gadgets in the pre-iPhone era and adequately opposed the iPhone in the early years. In June 2010, the company reported on the sale of a 100 millionth smartphone.

    However, this success in the keyboard segment has, as a result, lagged behind in the segment of touch-sensitive products. Recognizing it, RIM made attempts to combine the keyboard form factor with touch control, but made sure that in order to confidently resist iOS and Android (and now Windows Phone), it needed to radically redesign the operating system for touch control, or rather, simply make a new one.
    To this end, in 2010, that is, at the peak of the popularity of its products, RIM acquired two companies: QNX Software Systems, a developer of the QNX operating system, and Cellmania, a software manufacturer that allows telecom operators and programmers to distribute applications through centralized online platforms, similar to the App Store or Android Market. The first result of these acquisitions was released a year later: in June 2011, a 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook tablet running on the BlackBerry Tablet OS operating system went on sale.

    Here, it’s probably worth saying a few words about the QNX operating system, on which both the BlackBerry Tablet OS and the upcoming BlackBerry 10 are based. This name is unlikely to mean anything to the average user. Nevertheless, it is on QNX that work with VISA credit cards is built in all regional offices of North America. Based on QNX, traffic control systems and nuclear reactors are implemented. On-board car computers of more than a dozen of the world's largest manufacturers operate on QNX, - more than 20 million cars worldwide. Control systems for the production of benzene, thermal cutting of metal and firing units of rocket engines are also based on QNX.

    That is, the basis of BB10 - you can’t imagine a more powerful one. In fact, the QNX core automatically turns all devices on the BB10 into professional devices that can be integrated into other QNX-native systems without problems. An example of this is the Porsche Carrera presented at BlackBerry World 2012 with an on-board computer built on QNX and synchronized with a smartphone on BB10 via NFC.

    But the most powerful QNX framework for user devices is not enough - they understood RIM very well, and therefore they integrated modern standards for application development into BB10, such as, for example, HTML5 and Qt. Moreover, through repackaging (saving with a different extension) BB10 supports most applications written for Android 2.3.3. In a word, BB10 takes into account the interests of developers of various fields as much as possible. In addition to this, RIM announced a special program under which for each application hosted in AppWorld, the developer automatically receives $ 100 and a smartphone on BB10. In my opinion, a very true marketing move to stimulate a sharp extensive growth of the ecosystem, which currently already numbers about 70 thousand applications.

    In luggage at Lenovo

    And now let's turn to another participant in a possible strategic alliance, - guarded the Chinese it-industry, which last year became the No. 1 personal computer supplier in the world. Lenovo's progenitor, New Technology Developer Incorporated, was formed in 1984 with the participation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which still owns a controlling stake in Lenovo. In 1986, the company was renamed Legend and released its first full-fledged product: Legend Chinese Character Card, a software and hardware complex for translating the interface of English-language programs into Chinese, which essentially marked the beginning of the entire Chinese it-industry. However, a crucial event in the history of the company occurred in 2004, - a year after renaming Legend to Lenovo,

    Lenovo not only worthily continued the truly aristocratic traditions of IBM in the field of design and production of personal computers, but also very productively built a marketing strategy, independently launching several product lines, each of which was clearly focused on one or another target group of consumers. Currently, Lenovo PC-tier consists of 8 product lines.

    You ask: where do the computers, when the BB10, is a mobile OS. In principle, the observation is certainly true, but, firstly, QNX naturally supports the x86 architecture, so Lenovo and RIM are unlikely to take more than a year to create a desktop OS that is as compatible as possible with BB10. Moreover, speaking about Lenovo saying nothing about a PC is even stranger than talking about a PC in connection with BB10.

    However, Lenovo is by no means the only manufacturer of personal computers and servers. Lenovo is the # 1 smartphone and tablet company in China. In the international market, she is less known in this segment, in which she has been active since 2010. However, Lenovo began experimenting with phones and smartphones in the middle of the last decade. She had models on Windows Mobile, on Symbian, then devices on Android began to appear. Lenovo produced not only phones and communicators, but also the so-called MID-devices, which, most likely, can be considered prototypes of modern tablets. At the moment, Lenovo's smartphone product line consists of 4, and the tablet of 2 product lines.

    Personally, I happened to use two Lenovo mobile products: a ThinkPad Tablet and a P700i smartphone. I would like to say a few words about my experience in using these models. ThinkPad Tablet - a frank masterpiece of engineering. The structural advantages of this tablet can not be overestimated. As an example, I will say that this is the only tablet on the market with a full-sized USB. Plus - pen input and an incredibly durable case. In general, a worthy successor to the traditions of the classic, laptop line ThinkPad Tablet. But the main thing is not this, but how easy, smoothly and, most importantly, Android ICS works for a long time on the Tegra 2 processor, which is the basis of this device. So, in a nutshell, of course, all the advantages of this device can not be described, but please check for a word - this is one of the best tablets on the market. Its only drawback seemed to me the operating system on which it works. The tablet itself makes the user so serious and impressive that Android looks like some kind of fake patch in it and nothing more. No wonder the next generation of the device, the ThinkPad Tablet 2, is already running on Windows 8.

    But the ThinkPad Tablet is an expensive business device. And here’s another Lenovo gadget I’ve met with - the budget representative of the user line of smartphones. The P700i is based on the MTK 6577 processor, it has only 512 MB of RAM, but Android ICS works so fast and smoothly that sometimes you even want to double-check, is it true that the smartphone has the hardware declared by the manufacturer? With a retail price of 9 tr this smartphone has a magnificent 4-inch IPS-display with a classic resolution for this diagonal of 800x480 and viewing angles worthy of a fraudulent device, as well as a very capacious 2500 mAh battery, which even with a maximum load of the device will last a day and a half of battery life. Plus, - two SIM cards, a wildly loud speaker, a 5 megapixel camera with a very small focal length, which allows you to shoot literally 2-3 centimeters from the subject. In a word, a very strong simple-smartphone, games on which work no slower than on the Nexus 7, for example.

    Lenovo knows how to assemble glands no worse than others, this fact hardly needs additional arguments. But the main thing is the degree of software optimization, the brevity and ease of the proprietary shell. This frankly distinguishes Lenovo from a number of other manufacturers. The flagship smartphone K900 and the IdeaCentre Horizon home mega-tablet presented this year at CES can also illustrate the company's capabilities.

    But with all this Lenovo, as a Chinese company, and even with a controlling stake in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, does not shine, for example, to become the manufacturer of the next Nexus device. And this despite the extremely positive image of the company in the international market and friendly relations with various states. Although, in fact, if you look closely, Lenovo is the same Chinese company as Microsoft, for example, American. Lenovo is registered in Singapore, it has headquarters both in China and in the USA, Lenovo has research centers and factories all over the world, and the company's top management is so multicultural that Lenovo’s transnational nature becomes apparent.

    Mutual Benefits and Prospects

    I think from the above it is clear that the alliance can turn out to be much more powerful than that of Microsoft and Nokia. A lot of things are really related to Lenovo and RIM. RIM has traditionally been a manufacturer of business devices; the company's position in the corporate sector was (and still is) very strong. At the same time, Lenovo also has the main line of ThinkPad laptops as corporate. So in this area, the interests and developments of the companies converge.

    Of course, Lenovo could independently make a mobile operating system, but to make a mobile OS is not even half the battle. The main thing is the community of developers supporting the platform. And here RIM is trying its best. Qt integration in BB10 attracted Nokia abandoned MeeGo developers. There are plenty of professional developers on QNX, in view of the prevalence of this OS in various fields of industry and production. Trying to make an application for them for custom mobile devices is an interesting task, at the same time promising profit. RIM itself also never had any problems with developers, so there is reason to believe that many adherents to previous BlackBerry software platforms will remain loyal to the company. To facilitate their retraining in BB10 all conditions are created.

    Lenovo probably knows perfectly well that the era of post-PCs is coming more and more every year. On sales, stationary computers and laptops after 5 years will no longer live. At the same time, Android is not a system that can fully replace a traditional laptop with a device from the post-PC era. Windows 8? - it may well. But QNX is just that option, which in this situation may turn out to be the most effective software basis for creating your ecosystem. QNX - microkernel, and accordingly, easily scalable depending on the tasks and devices for installation - the operating system. In essence, QNX opens up boundless horizons for Lenovo in the production of professional computers and control systems for a wide range of applications, from household, custom, to industry.

    As for the directly mobile segment, “stringing” the BB10 on Lenovo’s existing smartphones and tablets is one year old. As a result, it turns out that RIM, with the help of Lenovo, will expand its product line in a year in a way that he would never have dreamed of alone. In turn, the Lenovo BB10 will be an excellent business card for entering its international products with its mobile products, where it, as a manufacturer of smartphones and tablets, is not yet well known.

    If the alliance of RIM and Lenovo takes place, then changes in the alignment of forces in the market of mobile devices and platforms will also not take long. The RIM and Lenovo alliance will compete not only with Android and the manufacturers of devices on it, but also with Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone devices, which also mark the corporate and business segment. Whether Lenovo decides to confront Microsoft is already a question, the answer to which is difficult to predict.
    Summing up, we can say that the alliance of RIM and Lenovo can lead to absolutely tiktan shifts in the it-market, shifts that, there is every reason to believe, will transform the industry only for the better. However, strictly speaking, all this is just a fantasy. Can they come true? - we will see. In the meantime, we are waiting for the presentation of the BlackBerry Z10.

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