RIM PlayBook is 'mobile computing'
Cape Town - The PlayBook represents Research in Motion's venture into mobile computing that presents an internet, as opposed to mobile internet experience, the BlackBerry maker has said.
"It [the Playbook] did better than what most analysts said, but to us it wasn't about going in and trying to compete against the other fruit company," Rui Brites team leader for Product Management in Africa for RIM told News24.
His thinly veiled reference to Apple illustrates the intense competition in the tablet market since the iPad was launched, but Brites rejected analysts' predictions that the PlayBook would not sell.
"North America at the moment is a spec war. When we launched the BlackBerry Torch it was slated even before it left the doors," he said.
Research firm comScore recently reported that the iPhone has overtaken BlackBerry in the smartphone market in the US, increasing its share by 8.7%, while BlackBerry fell by 8.1%.
In developing markets like Africa, though, RIM is seeing an increase in subscribers, particularly as the firm strives to link the device with mobile operators.
"Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind the BlackBerry solution, has added more than one million new subscribers to its base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in less than three weeks," the company said.
The momentum in developing markets may prove to be beneficial to the company as it looks to expand into tablet computers and challenge the dominance of Apple's iPad.
"We're excited by the continued momentum we're experiencing across EMEA, and are appreciative of the amazing efforts of our application developer partners, our operator partners, our retail partners, and our distributor partners who have helped us make this happen," Patrick Spence, Managing Director, EMEA, Research In Motion, said of the company's recent numbers.
Brites said that sales of the PlayBook were satisfactory, but that the company was focussed on data packages tied into service providers, particularly in developing markets.
"In South Africa and Europe, it's been predominantly around the proposition around the holistic view of it's not only a device, it's a platform that enables you to do various other things, rather than a 1Gig processor with a super display.
For RIM, the focus on the tablet device was mobile computing, especially given that in SA, few users have access to the internet via ADSL.
"We took this very seriously and hence the acquisition of QNX: QNX is the platform that is driving PlayBook and the reason we went to QNX is that we wanted to get into the mobile computing space and not a bigger one of those," he said, pointing to a popular touch screen smartphone.
In May, RIM recalled about 1 000 PlayBooks because of a flawed operating system, but the company said those had not reached customers yet.
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