Wednesday, September 29, 2010

RIM makes a play into tablet market



Surprising though not unexpected entry by RIM into the tablet market. Not extending the BB OS to the tablet to create tight integration and eventually move into the laptop/PC and TV domains is surprising even though QNX has a good reputation as a robust platform. Support for Flash apart from HTML 5 is good. No mention also of an app store and specific content for the PlayBook (could be a critical weak link). It'll be interesting to see how RIM fares given its challenges in this likely hyper competitive segment

Mobile Business Briefing

September 28, 2010

Research In Motion (RIM) has confirmed speculation it is jumping on the tablet bandwagon, yesterday unveiling its new PlayBook device. RIM is pitching the 7-inch capacitive touchscreen device (the same size as Galaxy’s Samsung Tab and three inches smaller than Apple’s iPad) at both its traditional enterprise user base as well as consumers, promising to have the PlayBook in US retail outlets in “early 2011” with international rollout from the second quarter next year. No pricing details were given.

RIM makes a play into tablet market

As previously reported, RIM has taken the surprise decision to run software acquired from its recent purchase of QNX, rather than using an evolution of the existing BlackBerry platform. The QNX Neutrino platform has been used for products including in-car entertainment systems and medical systems, and has been praised for its robustness, but has not been widely used in mobile devices. Significantly, as expected, the device also does not yet support cellular connectivity, with RIM stating that it intends to offer 3G and 4G models in the future. The first generation of PlayBook will offer WiFi support instead. RIM was also keen to talk up integration capability with its portfolio of smartphones, claiming that the tablet and BlackBerry smartphones can be synched and paired via Bluetooth, meaning owners can use the larger tablet display to view any of the content that resides on their smartphone (and, presumably, connect to the Web).


With Apple in his sights, Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO at RIM, noted in a statement that the company has “set out to engineer the best professional-grade tablet in the industry with cutting-edge hardware features and one of the world's most robust and flexible operating systems. The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised Web browsing and high performance multimedia.” The company proclaimed it “truly a game-changing product in the growing tablet marketplace.” The PlayBook weighs in at less than a pound and measures less than half an inch thick. Other specs include a 1 GHz dualcore processor, 1 GB RAM, dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing) and 1080p HD video recording.


The tablet supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR and HTML 5. And RIM is making a concerted effort to attract developers to the new tablet and OS; yesterday the company announced its new WebWorks app platform, which aims to allow apps to be written to run on BlackBerry PlayBook tablets as well as BlackBerry smartphones with the BlackBerry 6 OS. The BlackBerry Tablet OS will also support Java, enabling developers to bring their existing BlackBerry 6 Java applications to the BlackBerry Tablet OS environment. The BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK is planned for release in the coming weeks and developers can register for early access at www.blackberry.com/developers/tabletos. Meanwhile Amazon.com said Monday it will create a Kindle e-book-reader application for the PlayBook.

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