Research In Motion, the company behind the hugely popular Blackberry line of phones, has announced a new emulation program designed to bring Blackberry-style functions to Palm Treos and other Windows Mobile 6 devices. The software, out this autumn, is designed to install onto a Windows Mobile smartphone by replacing the normal icons and interface with one which makes it look exactly like a Blackberry.
The aim behind RIM’s move seems to be to extend their presence across platforms they don’t control. There are likely many users out there who, for whatever reason, are tied to Windows Mobile devices but would like Blackberry functions too. It also seems that RIM’s larger clients have been pushing for a single, standardised email platform – without the need for relatively costly BlackBerry devices. For ‘larger clients’, read ‘US Federal agencies’, who still make up a huge chunk of RIM’s business. It could well be that such large corporate clients have effectively forced Research In Motion to make this move in order to retain at least their service subscriptions, if not their handset demand.
Whatever the reasons behind RIM’s move, it seems certain now that the mobile operating systems market, which two years ago seemed to be stagnating, is becoming more and more competitive (especially taking into account the arrival of new OSs and handsets this year from Palm and Apple).