RIM Still Considering Licensing BlackBerry 10 or Selling Hardware Division

Despite Research In Motion’s recent gains, the Waterloo-based company is still considering some significant back up options: licensing BlackBerry 10 software to rival smartphone makers and selling its hardware division.

While both happening is extremely likely, one or the other remains very plausible. Chief executive officer Thorsten Heins says that, given how unpredictable the future is, he simply can’t rule out either possibility.

Of course, licensing BB10 would only be a viable path to take if the operating system succeeded sufficiently without licensing. “Before you license the software, you must show that the platform has significant potential. If such proof exists, a licensing is conceivable,” Heins told German newspaper Die Welt.

Some investors and analysts have been begging for a licensing deal or partial sale for more than a year. But VentureBeat’s Ricardo Bilton doesn’t see the appeal:

The problem is that the move wouldn’t make much sense. As with Apple, one of RIM’s greatest strengths is its ability to create software that meshes perfectly with its hardware. That synergy would be completely lost if another company started making BlackBerry hardware.

He adds that “Even the licensing deal is tough to swallow. Samsung, HTC, Nokia — there’s not a single smartphone maker for which BlackBerry 10 would be an attractive option. As a result, RIM’s efforts to license the operating system are unlikely to result in much interest.”

RIM is slated to launch BlackBerry 10 in less than two weeks on January 30.