When is a Smartphone OS not a Smartphone OS? For RIM, now.

I just read a great post by Steven Troughton-Smith on it being short-sighted to see the current smartphone operating systems as just that:

“If you’re thinking purely in terms of ‘smartphones’ whenever you think of iOS, Android and Windows Phone, you’ve blown it. It’s so incredibly short sighted to think of these OSes as a smartphone play – they are all so much more than that.

These are the three OSes going to power consumer devices (phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, TVs, etc) for the next 20-30 years, or be the template for such.”

But I respectfully disagree with his ending in which he states:

“It’s a completely different game being played now. And this, more than anything else, is why companies who think they’re just making smartphones (RIM, for example) will have no place in the world of tomorrow.”

BlackBerry 10 is designed to power smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more (QNX’s automotive partnerships, rumours of a BB10 powered AppleTV-like device). Hopefully the BlackBerry 10 Jam Conference on May 1 will show Steven more of RIM’s plans for a mobile computing platform, and not just a smartphone platform.

In an interview from January, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins stated:

“Critics aren’t seeing the bigger picture, as PlayBook was never meant to be simply a tablet. PlayBook has been designed as a mobile computing platform that will be offered to QNX’s global list of clients in various industries.

PlayBook shows as a tablet, but it really is a mobile computing platform that you can run on various hardwares and integrate into various systems.”

Here is a leaked internal video from RIM showing their vision of the future matches up quite nicely with Steven’s. Notice around the 50s mark, a guy puts his BlackBerry down on his desk and it is instantly powering his desktop monitor. The same OS from the smartphone expands to the desktop.

It is a mistake to assume RIM’s current BBOS and devices dictate what they will continue doing with BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry 10 is a new beginning for RIM and the start of their new computing platform. I can not speculate on how successfully RIM will execute on this vision, but it would be short-sighted to say RIM does not see past the smartphone.

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