This came out on the wires today and pretty much caught us by surprise, I think it caught a lot of people by surprise actually. We already know that RIM has been working with various hardware manufactures to bring their Blackberry push email technology to other platforms through what they call Blackberry Connect. The program seems to have been around forever but still hasn’t gained much traction, contrary to the official stance of RIM.
Now AP has a story about RIM coming out with some sort of virtual Blackberry OS that runs on top of the Windows Mobile OS. The software, due in the fall replaces the Windows layout and icons on the display with the look of the BlackBerry interface, customized to the specific buttons and screen size of that device.
RIM hasn’t come out about the future of Blackberry Connect, I don’t think they’ll kill it but they could be using this to force the hand of various manufactures. It’s a way for RIM to skip the manufacturers altogether and allow consumers to directly opt for Blackberry email.
RIM is also quiet about any additional fees, which could be the deal breaker because it will be stupid to end up paying $10-$20 more for Blackberry service where you could have just easily bought a Blackberry instead.