RIM to license BlackBerry 10 to offer wider device selection?

Research In MotionResearch In Motion has in the past hinted that it could license its BlackBerry 10 operating system to other manufacturers. In an interview with the U.K.’s The Telegraph, CEO Thorsten Heins provided one compelling argument for such a move. It would allow RIM’s new operating system to be offered on a wider range of devices than what RIM could offer on its own. As he explains it:

“We don’t have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year. We have to differentiate and have a focused platform. To deliver BB10 we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than I can do it. There’s different options we could do that we’re currently investigating.”

Heins goes on to suggest that RIM could get out of the hardware business entirely:

“You could think about us building a reference system, and then basically licensing that reference design, have others build the hardware around it – either it’s a BlackBerry or it’s something else being built on the BlackBerry platform. We’re investigating this and it’s way too early to get into any details.

Both Google and Microsoft are using a similar model to different levels of success. RIM and its financial advisers are looking closely at this model to determine if it is viable.

It remains to be seen if any manufacturers would be interested in licensing BlackBerry 10. But with an established BlackBerry user base nearing 80 million, there is a potential market that most new operating systems simply do not have.

Read more: The Telegraph