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(Pocket-lint) - Thorsten Heins, the RIM chief exec, has revealed that the company is considering licensing out its next BlackBerry operating system to other manufacturers in an effort to widen its reach.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Heins claimed that because RIM is much smaller than other handset makers it struggles to compete with its peers. He suggested that a change of strategy may be necessary to push BB10 to as many sectors as possible - a strategy like Google's with Android, for example. The only difference is that the new BlackBerry OS wouldn't be open source, so interested parties would need to license it.

"We don’t have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year," he said. "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."

If adopted, this plan could mean cheaper BlackBerry handsets released around the world, including less affluent markets - places where Android uptake has been massive.

"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," said Heins.

The BlackBerry 10 operating system is first expected to appear in early 2013. The first smartphone from RIM to carry the new OS is believed be a touchscreen-only device to rival the iPhone and Android handsets.

What do you think? Should RIM go down the Android route? Let us know in the comments below...

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Writing by Rik Henderson.