BlackBerry Maker Unfolds Future Plans

The QNX-based BlackBerry Tablet OS in the upcoming PlayBook tablet will make its way to multi-core BlackBerry smartphones and tablets in different sizes over the next ten years, said Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.

At the "D: Dive Into Mobile" conference in San Francisco, Lazaridis discussed his company's plans to the website "All Things Digital."

According to Lazaridis, the company has plans for different sizes, though he thinks the upcoming PlayBook tablet has "the perfect size." The 7-inch PlayBook, which RIM unveiled in September, is still "tracking" for a first quarter launch, he said.

Lazaridis emphasized that RIM is betting heavily on the PlayBook and its BlackBerry Tablet OS.

"As RIM's smartphones begin to include multi-core processors, "they'll all be running the PlayBook platform," said Lazaridis. He also believed the PlayBook OS will help RIM "jump into the next decade of mobile computing."

Lazaridis also claimed during the interview that the BlackBerry began appealing to its consumers directly. "We didn't go out and try to make BlackBerry a consumer device. It crossed over on its own," he said.

So far as RIM and Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) strategies are concerned, Lazaridis said Apple is trying to upgrade a mobile phone OS for tablets, while RIM is starting with a "bona-fide mobile computing platform" for tablets.

Referring to iPad's lack of Adobe Flash compatibility, Lazaridis asked, "Why would you limit yourself?"

In the past, too, RIM had described the iPad as "mundane" and "boring-looking" and that its PlayBook was superior to the Apple tablet on all counts. At the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie raised the war of words with the rival and tried to show how RIM's tablet is superior to Apple's iPad.

As Apple CEO Steve Jobs asserted that many 7-inch tablets would be dead on arrival, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie claimed that "many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple."

PlayBook, which will be introduced in North America in the first quarter of 2011, will be priced at less than $500 when the cheapest iPad costs $499 and the top model is priced at $829, said RIM.

The QNX-based BlackBerry Tablet OS in the upcoming PlayBook tablet will make its way to multi-core BlackBerry smartphones and tablets over the next ten years, said Research In Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.

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  • Report this Comment On December 08, 2010, at 4:34 PM, DefunctAcct wrote:

    As a RIM shareholder, I applauded RIM's belated acknowledgement of Berry OS shortcomings by purchasing QNX. That said, I am now a bit confused by Lazardis' comments.

    Lazardis is either extremely ill-informed for a CEO or he is deliberately misleading watchers; including RIM investors.

    Apple iOS is a scaled-version of Mac OS/X. Mac OS/X has been running on a laptop to a full bore server machine for as long as it has been in market. There is no "fitting a mobile OS to run a tablet". iOS has all the DNA to run a tablet and possibly even a laptop if Apple so desires. Lazardis is clearly wrong in this.

    Lazardis kept touting "multi-core" processor like it is a new thing. Multi-core processors have been in use on laptops and netbook since it first came out. Apple just recently created something call "Grand Central" to take full advantage of multiple-processor capabilities. Muti-core processor's arrival in mobile devices is expected. Everyone who knows anything about INTEL CPU evolution and Moore's Law knows this. Why is Lazardis focusing on this?

    As a RIM investor, Lazardis' comments are actually raising alarm bells in my head.

    Is he suffering from a Freudian slip by claiming Apple is trying to scale a mobile OS to run a tablet? Did he mean RIM was the one that tried and failed and needed QNX to make progress? This is precisely what happened in RIM else there would be no need for QNX.

    Does he really believe multi-core processor requires QNX? Is he ignorant of how UNIX has been managing multiple CPUs and multi-core CPUs for large institutions for decades?

    I cannot figure out if he is just ill-informed, ignorant or he was just using poorly chosen words. NOne of that is giving me any warm fuzzies.

    QNX gives RIM a chance to compete, it does not make RIM superior to others nor does it make others inferior to RIM.

    It is not QNX that investors should focus on, it is what devices RIM can deliver that is important. Now that RIM has an OS it can quickly integrate to compete at a more even footing, how will it execute its product strategy?

    As for the reference to a "10-year" plan, that is completely weird. Technology changes quickly and competitors litter the landscape. Software companies must employ software architecture that supports rapid adaptations to changing requirements. Berry OS clearly was not capable so RIMM bought QNX.

    If RIMM Is focusing on Enterprise, then 10 year plan may sound palatable to the sloth-like IT world. If RIMM wants to venture into consumer space, 10-year plan is near meaningless.

    This is all very strange and weird and does not show RIMM to have a tightly focused and energetic response in place. I dislike the lack of direction.

  • Report this Comment On December 08, 2010, at 4:48 PM, DefunctAcct wrote:

    The other thing that worries me is the hint at competition by price on top of overly bloated focus on hardware specifications.

    Those of us who use PC's know that machines change every few months. New CPU, new cards, new drives, new features. Today's $800 laptop is tomorrow's junk when a new version costing $750 arrives from Acer in a quarter to six months to a year. Change is the only constant. Focusing only on hardware is never a good sign.

    Then this claim of selling the Playbook for below $500. That is like adding oil to the fire. So RIM is focusing on hardware specifications and then trying to sell it cheap too.

    OK, the 7-inch is smaller and without wireless capability, so cheaper is expected. How is that something special?

    WHere are all the other capabilities that consumers have grown to appreciate? Books? Music? Videos? Pictures? Movie rentals? Netflix streaming? What of people who do not own berries and do not want to own a berry to start? How will they buy a Playbook with no wireless capability if they own either an HTC Evo or an iPhone? What solutions will RIM provide to make a consumer's digital life more coherent, simpler and efficient?

    So is RIMM giving up on the consumer segment? Lazardis' comments raised a lot of questions.

  • Report this Comment On December 08, 2010, at 5:16 PM, AQCon wrote:

    any rimm shareholder should feel incredible concern after watching its ceo blather incoherently last night.

    that interview left me stunned; rimm appears completely lost, if their ceo (one of them) is any indication. just more fuel for the shorts as they lick their lips at the future feast that is before them...

    honestly, that ceo was beyond embarrassing as a representative of rimm's leadership and the future.

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