RIM PlayBook is 'mobile computing'

2011-07-11 10:35

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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  • LFC SA Supporters - 2011-07-11 10:53

    Have one myself. Got it from Fantastic machine but lacks apps to make it stand out against an inferior iPad.

      Neil - 2011-07-11 14:29

      Lacks apps to make it stand out against an inferior iPad? How can the iPad be inferior to something that is clearly lacking? You're not making any sense. Have you even compared it to an iPad?

      Stryder - 2011-07-11 16:29

      @Neil-Careful the BBB (Blackberry Brainwashed) will cut your parts off.

      Iron John - 2011-07-11 16:58

      I've never understood the BB value proposition - maybe 10 years ago when they were pioneers in exchange server synchronisation - in the last 5 years they almost seem irrelevant. I endeavoured to spend a few hours with the latest BB this last week and I confirm that it is robust, dependable and solid, but largely lags the smartphone market. Is it possible that their tablet is any better? If they plugged into thousands of apps tomorrow would it become a great tablet?

      Werner - 2011-07-12 05:09

      Wow .. both of you seem to be defending spending your hard earned cash on a Disprin and an Always Ultra.

  • brad - 2011-07-11 15:10

    The tablet segment is so new that no one can really be sure of how it will evolve. I am quite sure though that it will be about much more than APPs. That is why i believe that RIM has a leg up at the moment with a robust flexible operating system that is also in it's infancy.

  • Jan Jabroer - 2011-07-12 12:12

    I still don't understand why people don't just buy netbooks. They cost less, can do more and have a proper keyboard.

      Peter Hansen - 2011-07-12 16:28

      Jan, many people think netbooks are poorly suited to anything, being too large to be truly mobile, and too underpowered to compare well against laptops. Anyway, tablets are clearly much more mobile, and that's one reason many want them.

  • Rich - 2011-07-12 12:15

    news24, are you obsessed with Blackberry now? :-D You need to do a bit more trolling around on the web to post more relevant articles on technology. RIM is a dying breed....

  • The Futurist - 2011-07-16 03:11

    Let me see if I can make this crystal clear: The PlayBook is UTTERLY DOOMED. Dead on arrival. Road Kill. Crippled from the start without even basic eMail, schedule or contact capabilities without tethering to a Blackberry (now THERE's a brilliant strategy to build your market share), with ridiculously few apps, developers deserting the platform by the hundreds each day (primarily because of the horrific development environment). This device will go down in history as one of the most disastrous product tech product launches of all time, and, very likely, will be one of the last RIM products ever. They've gone from innovator to irrelevant in just over a decade. Save your money and get one next year for $50 on eBay as a novelty. What a pathetic joke. Get an Android tablet or an iPad.

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