Research In Motion
The Mississauga, Ont.-based company officially introduced the PlayBook, a tablet computer, at its Developer's Conference this week. The device has a seven-inch screen, will use a tablet version of the Blackberry operating system and will be aimed at the enterprise segment.
"I think it was the right move," Mark McKechnie, analyst at Gleacher and Company, said. "It's marketing 101, protect your capital. For RIM, that is enterprise, secure email and secure corporate management."
RIM says the device, which runs on a 1 GHz dual-core processor, supports true symmetric multiprocessing. Recently acquired QNX has been called into duty to provide the operating system architecture. It also supports video conferencing capabilities.
The first generation of the device runs on Wi-Fi internet and does not have cellular connectivity. However, analysts say this is not a downside as it just indicates that RIM is in fact aiming at the enterprise customer base.
"It saves consumers from another data subscription cost with the carrier," Matt Thornton, analyst at Aviation Securities, said. "It also lowers the cost of materials. And for the enterprise segment, it makes it a much cheaper, worthwhile device. It's clear they are going towards the enterprise."
The device is also enterprise-ready because it's compatible with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. By using a Bluetooth, users can connect content from their BlackBerry smartphone to the PlayBook tablet. This capability allows IT managers to deploy the BlackBerry PlayBook to non-present employees without worrying about all the security and manageability issues.
The PlayBook's size and weight, which is less than the iPad, also impressed analysts. RIM says it weighs less than a pound at 0.9 lbs, and it has less than half of an inch of thickness.
While analysts liked the move and the device, they cautioned that the enterprise market for tablets may not be that big. Since tablets are still in the early stages of development, it is unclear whether or not people will actually buy them for business purposes. Yet despite these concerns, most believe this was the right move for RIM in the long run.
"This is a step in the right direction," McKechnie said. "They needed to hit this tablet space. I've said it before, real men have tablets. It was important that RIM fight back in this space."
International Business Times, The Global Business News Leader
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