Why is RIM running away from BlackBerry to battle Apple?

blackberry-playbook-ipad

Why is RIM running away from BlackBerry in order to try and keep up, never mind compete, with Apple's iPad, never mind iPhone? Georgia, Chad, Ally and I spoke about this at length on last Sunday's iPad Live! podcast but given RIM's financial results and accompanying comments this week, I think it's appropriate to get some text behind it now as well.

Note: I'm not going to use direct quotes in this piece. I need a translator to understand RIM's co-CEO's, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. They don't speak any language I'm familiar with, not English, French, Klingon, or marketing. There's no app for translating what they're saying lately, and certainly no web service (zing! reserved, as you'll see later). I've read what CrackBerry Kevin and Sascha Segan, geniuses both, have managed to extract but I'm still baffled. Or RIM is still baffling. I think it's the latter.

End of life equations

BlackBerry is the ultimate communications device for those whose hierarchy of needs are founded on communication. While competition from third-party IM apps is growing, for those who need instant, addictive, information exchange and the best tiny keyboard in the business, BlackBerry still has no equal. It also has no future. It grew from a pager and has been bound and gagged and kept from growing further by the increasingly outdated, increasingly restrictive Java2ME-based architecture. Push-wise their technology is fantastic. Hardware-wise their build quality is among the best. OS-wise they're dead in the water.

Apple faced this with OS 9, bought NeXT, and now we have Mac OS X and iOS. Microsoft faced this with Windows ME and Windows Mobile 6.5, merged NT on the desktop and re-architected on the mobile side, and now we have Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7. Palm faced this with Palm OS and the Treo, went back to the drawing board and came out with webOS and the Pre. Google began making a BlackBerry clone, took one look at iPhone, switched gears, and now we have Android 2.3 Gingerbread (and Chrome OS, perhaps after seeing webOS).

In each of those cases a company whose core technology was at its end of life brought in or rebuilt a new foundation to take them forward another step with their core products. Apple didn't buy NeXT and launch a gaming console. Microsoft didn't bring in NT and launch a walkman competitor. Palm didn't build webOS to get into the printer game (listening HP?), and Google -- well, Android was additive for them; their advertising business is doing just fine thanks. RIM has done the first part, they've bought QNX but instead of using that to build a 14 million a quarter selling iPhone competitor, to make a better BlackBerry... they're deploying it on a tablet to take on the 5 million or so a quarter selling iPad. Instead of using it to regroup, retrench, and relaunch, they're using it to branch out and buy time. And they're making incredible compromises to do it.

Webapps for that

First, RIM is playing the HTML5 card for developers, the one Palm played with webOS 2 years ago. Now HTML5 is great for webapps and maybe webapps are the future but we're nowhere near that future yet. RIM's co-CEO Jim Balsillie suggested Apple's App Store-class apps are only necessary on iOS because iOS can't handle the web as well as the PlayBook (a product which does not yet exist for consumers). He said "you don't need an app for the web".

Except of course you do. The browser is an app, a generic frame app that's good for most things but not great for all things. My Mac and Windows PCs can all handle the web well -- better than any PlayBook real or imagined -- and I like many others still use native apps all the time. (MailPlane does things with Gmail that Gmail.com stuck in a browser just can't do.) Google, the king of webapps, makes all sorts of native apps because they -- being the king -- they understand the internet pipes better feed native apps at this point than the browser. (Witness the exception that proves the rule -- Chrome OS.)

It's become a cliche but when Steve Jobs announced "sweet" webapps as the original iPhone 2G SDK back in 2007 he was met -- rightfully so -- with the jeers and condemnation of the developer community. Now it's 2010 and mobile apps have proven so successful that web browsing is actually down on iOS. People like using apps better than the web on mobile because internet-enabled apps currently work better than the web browser on mobile devices.

Destiny dependent

Second, RIM is using Adobe's AIR as stop-gap SDK and Flash as a presentation layer. While that's great news for Flash developers because it allows for the mythical "code once, run anywhere" travesty that's tortured users for over a decade, it's the same trap RIM was was in with Java2ME on BlackBerry OS. It's an intermediary, code-intepreting layer based on outdated, historically poorly performing technology that RIM can't control. If AIR and Flash languish and fall far behind the curve, as Adobe has let them do in the past, or if Adobe takes AIR and Flash in a direction that's at conflict with RIM and their users, what can RIM do? They're once again not masters of their own destiny, something Apple, Microsoft, Palm, and Google decidedly are.

Forgetting phones

Third, QNX and the AIR layers don't seem to be able to run on phones, which are RIM's core business. It demands too much processing power and consumes too much battery life to actually power the products RIM sells. In 2010. iOS has been powering iPhones well since 2007. Android, UI challenged as it was, worked fine on the 2008 G1. webOS did wonders with the Pre in 2009. Microsoft, who had their head in the sand (to put it politely) for years still managed to launch a new OS that ran on phones by 2010. That it took one or two years post-iPhone is understandable. That it took three is perplexing. That RIM will take four, maybe five is as flabbergasting as the PlayBook itself.

The BlackBerry inexperience

Fourth, given RIM doesn't have a native development environment of their own or a next-generation OS that can run on current generation phones, the tablet-style PlayBook might seem like a smart, place-holder play to keep the BlackBerry faithful, well, faithful.

Except the PlayBook is a BlackBerry in name only. As I mentioned at the beginning, BlackBerry, OS-challenged as it is, still leads the industry in enterprise push, messaging, and overall communications. Those are their core strengths and competencies. Say what you want about the BlackBerry OS user experience -- and I've said plenty, as have lots of BlackBerry lovers -- tens of millions of people use it everyday. And the PlayBook is nothing like it. The PlayBook, which RIM can only hope to sell to Enterprise and BlackBerry addicts, has a user experience completely alien to BlackBerry. It's interactivity is all Apple iPad and its UI metaphors are all taken from Palm's webOS.

Apple was criticized for not doing something more original with the iPad, of simply scaling up the iPhone. But that's exactly right and Apple said why at the introduction -- there were already tens of millions of users who knew how to use iPhone and would instantly know and feel comfortable using iPad.

How many BlackBerry users will instantly know PlayBook based on their BlackBerry use? BlackBerry users are BlackBerry users -- if they're still BlackBerry users -- because they don't want iPhones or Pres. They want BlackBerrys. If they wanted iOS they'd have already gotten iPads and if they want webOS they'll wait for a PalmPad.

PlayBooks sound like they're for play. BlackBerrys are known, trusted, and loved for work. Even the name shows the utter disconnect at the core of this device, and at the core of RIM.

Love is blind

Like Ballmer at Microsoft and Colligan at Palm, Lazaridis and Balsillie at RIM probably thought they were so entrenched, so far advanced, that no upstart like Apple (or Google) could challenge them. By the time they did start responding with their "Apple killer", the BlackBerry Storm in 2008, the negative reaction should have shown them that what they were doing wasn't and wouldn't work, that they needed to think different and leap ahead.

I've always thought Android and Windows Mobile suffered because the CEOs of Google and Microsoft didn't care about them. They're just another screen that needs to be owned. Steve Jobs loves the iPhone. Jon Rubenstein went to Palm to make the Pre. Lazaridis and Balsillie obviously love the BlackBerry (maybe even more than Kevin). But the love that can launch and platform can also blind a company to the platform's decline. Founders have a tough time recognizing when change is needed. Witness the BlackBerry Torch.

It's taken RIM over three years to recognize the trouble they're in and since they wasted so much time they've now become desperate not to waste any more. That's why Balsillie is firing away at Apple and that's why Lazardis came off so poorly when interviewed by Mossberg and Swisher at the Dive into Mobile conference. Unable to show off anything but the PlayBook prototype, unable to concede the failure of the Torch and risk the Osborn effect on existing BlackBerry OS devices, and unable to tell a story about smartphones that can't be told until next year at the earliest, he'd have been better off not doing the interview at all.

Why is RIM running away from BlackBerry to battle Apple?

RIM doesn't have Windows and Office, or online advertising to keep them afloat while they (re)invent their smartphones. They're like Apple when Jobs came back or Palm when Rubenstein came in, only it's not then it's now and the space is accelerating faster and the climate is more competitive than ever before.

That's why RIM has to make so many compromises, playing the HTML5 card, getting in bed with Adobe, going with a tablet instead of a phone, and creating an alien experience, and why they've had to run away from the Blackberry to battle Apple -- because today's BlackBerry has proven can't battle Apple and tomorrow's BlackBerry is still way more than a day way.

They waited too long and now they've bet on the PlayBook to to keep them going until chips and batteries let them re-enter the smartphone game. It's a huge gamble and not one that's guaranteed to pay off .

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Why is RIM running away from BlackBerry to battle Apple?

54 Comments

Blackberry is going to lose. With apple and google taking over. Wp7 my be able to round up some of the Blackberry fanatics but....

as both BlackBerry and iOS user I think the major issue for RIM is that they can't keep one straight strategy.
Take the Storm for example, I have one and with the OS 5 it works great no laggy display or bugs! The click keyboard (its a touchscreen where you have to push/click) is something they sould have kept instead of coming with a hybrid solution like the Torch!
RIM is confused and will not keep up (or catch up) if they can't adopt a defined strategy and focus on it!

I love my iPhone but blackberry is a better business device. Apples email is terrible, battery life horrendous I get half a day out of my iphone4, I graves my old bb9000 and wow do I miss the keyboard and how easy everything was to do on it. Another thing is I've heard qnx or whatever is being worked on to run on bb. I do like the playbook better then the iPad I think the interface is quite nice and if bb can get that on a phone and use both html5 and flash then there us a serious competedor here

Great article.
I'm a BlackBerry fanboy, and spend a lot of my time over at CrackBerry. Have the Torch as a company device, and never owned an iPhone. Though I do own and use a iPad.
Everything you've said is perfectly true. The BlackBerry OS is lagging behind and always will do in the ways that Apple and Android users measure them.
You have to realise the 1 thing that RIM will always have over any other provider like Apple and Google, and that's security. RIM time and again gain the FIPS and CESG certifications required to allow them to be used with government messaging systems, something that (almost) no other device can boast.
Sure, you can add technologies such that will create a sandbox for corporate data to play in, but personally, I have an iPad to use the native clients, not some 3rd party crap that kid of looks the same.
OK, so I'm looking at it from an enterprise view, and traditionally, that is where RIM have triumphed. And Apple will sew up the consumer market solely for doing what they do well, and that's creating devices that people go "whow" at when they see them.
Don't get me wrong, in the enterprise we will start seeing more and more ios devices pop up, CEO's all over the place will but the iPhone/iPad as a status symbol, and to show they're in fashion. But put simply, for a bullet proof device when it comes to enterprise security, RIM will always have that in the bag.
for the record...
BlackBerry lover
iPad Lover
iPhone liker!
Si,

Actually, the Blackberry is good for Apple, Google and HP. It's a starter kit for more advanced smart phones. RIM beat earnings expectations yesterday because they're running from the mature markets to the emerging ones. They've proven in the mature markets that they're a bridge from a more traditional phone to the smart phone. They'll likely displace Nokia as the 3rd world's favorite handset up to the point that the more advanced smart phone makers can either go down market or the folks in the 3rd world increase their income.
Now, the question remains can they go to the 3rd world and rebuild their brand in the mature markets? Nokia is stumbling to do just that and it will take a revelation from RIM to pull it off. I'm not saying that they can't just that they've yet to articulate or demo something to the contrary.

They are not battling Apple so much as acknowledging that QNX, not BlackberryOS, is their future. QNX cannot run on a phone now, but in 18 months, it will be able to do so. RIM knows that it will take more than 18 months worth of effort to make BlackberryOS competitive with Android or IOS, so rather than throw good money after bad propping up BlackberryOS, they are offering small updates to BlackberryOS, while putting the bulk of their resources towards getting QNX ready. To use Job's favorite Gretzy quote, RIM trying to "play where the puck will be," rather than where it is right now. The PlayBook is an attempt to familiarize customers with the platform (and hopefully get some return on their investment) until such time that phone hardware can handle it.
If QNX fails, they are walking dead, and they know it. They have to make a break to survive, much less thrive. The only question is how much hemorrhaging they will suffer during the transition.

@drdoom420 how is the iPhone 4 battery horrendous? I was a BB abuser before I got into the iPhone and the iPhone 4 battery far exceeds and battery life I ever had on any of my BBs.

i agree with most things rene had to say but i think alot of people get caught up inthe hype of the tech advancements like retina display or facetime, both cool features that i think are awesomeand great at the forefront of the smartphone market, but when we take a step back and look at the thousands of small business, who maybe employ 50 people lets say, they need something cheap thatll get the job done and a berry as low as 0 or 20$ (thinking basic 8520) will get the job done, most people still dont care about 3G, and alot of people want the feature of bbm, even though theres 3rd party apps. i know ive been contemplating switching to an iphone but the thing that holds me back the most is that im a student and my dad is constantly traveling globally and its simply easier to keep bbm to talk to him, sure i could email or whatnot but its just plain easier for me, but more importantly him

I watched the Lazaridis interview with Mossberg and Swisher at the Dive into Mobile conference http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/13/all-things-d-posts-full-mike-lazaridi...blogsmithinpage_engadget
and I didn't think it went over as bad as Rene writes (and Endgaget reported in a recent editorial "RIM seems to be as lost as my BlackBerry".)
However, regardless of RIM's current market share and actual expertise there is a perception in the US (and to some extent in Canada) that RIM is already dead as a leader and innovator in the mobile communications field. I don't know how much this has to do with Steve Jobs' "distortion field" but this perception definitely exists.
During the Dive into Mobile interview Lazaridis also said that RIM is strategically placed to produce phones for 2G markets because the rest of the world still lags behind the US (and Europe) in terms of mobile infrastructure so that might be the bigger picture for them at the moment even if it does kind of comes across as backward thinking.

rim needs to focus on less models of phones.
they have 7 model lines right now for sale. not models, model lines. they have 15 different models available right now.
it's the same problem android has. too many choices for too many people means you get confusion.

@Kevin
RIM only have 5 lines (Bold, Torch, Curve, Style and Pearl) at the moment. (I'm only counting GSM here as CDMA isn't even worth bothering with!!)
Of those Lines, The Bold only has 2 current models, (9700 and 9780 which is to replace the 9700 both are higher end executive devices), Torch 1 (RIM's first duel touch screen and physical KB device), Curve 2 (9300 and 8520 which are budget devices), Style 1 and Pearl 2 (9105 to draw in the Nokia t9 market, and the 9100 to give BB lovers a candy bar form factor).
RIM offer a variety, which, as they say, is the spice of life!! :)

Yeah, ok, this is a completely crap article. The only way I managed to read through this is because I wanted to see how badly this writer can.. umm.. write.
Firstoff, QNX is a basic microkernel OS. I'm pretty sure that it can work on the existing BB CPU's already as it's core space is in the embedded market. What I am sure is missing from using QNX as the core of the next BBOS is the fact that they have to still rewrite all of the apps for it (e.g. the basic display functionality, and all of they key apps). The QNX Neutrino OS is fairly secure by default since it doesn't actually have much of anything except the scheduler.
The beef that I do have with RIM is the fact that they have a bazillion devices on the market, and there's absolutely no way that they can reasonably support each and every model phone reasonably well. So they roll out a new version of the phone every few months (e.g. 9700, 9800, 9780 in the space of 12 months or so).
As for Java2ME being slow? well, yeah, I kind of agree, but I don't think that this is true anymore from recent advances in the JITS. And I'm a C guy, so it's easy for me to slag java, but when i see java code go as fast, or faster, than C, it's eye opening. I just wonder how RIM is going to fit the Neutrino OS, plus all of the other layers, into the meagre 64MB of RAM (yes, that's all the &@#&@# 9700 has - and 256MB of flash). This pales in comparison to the amount of RAM that pretty much every modern smartphone has. So unless your 3rd party app developers are serious about resource management, 3rd party apps are going to bog down each and every BB so fast it's painful to watch.
In the meantime, I'm using both my iphone and my BB because the BB just feels a lot more secure. I'd rather do my online banking via my BB than via my computer or the iphone. I don't think I've ever heard of a security issue with the BB platform, except where Obama is concerned.
One last thing about the iPhone as a status symbol: I think that was what the Motorola CEO thought about the RZR when it came out. But everyone got one and it's no longer so exclusive when everyone has one. That day will come for Apple, but not before SJ earns a few more billions.

@ Kevin, with the exception of the Torch, none of these lines are new and each iteration brings incremental change - something that RIM has done very well in doing. Think about it, for very little R&D and change in manufacturing cost they slap a 'new' sticker on a device and restart the product life cycle where they net good margins at the beginning and tolerable margins at the end. It's actually not a bad business model and truth be told even Apple doesn't do a 100% re-engineer of their iPhones year over year.
Also, as noted above they have CDMA and GSM models within a line. They'd love to be Apple and dictate the terms and conditions of their agreements but the reality is that they're not and have to offer a device for the network that they're selling to. Most of the time they're a tweaked device and yet still manage to yield a pretty good return.
One last thought. While one could spend plenty of time focusing on the hardware that is not the end all and be all of RIM's business model. Remember, the services side of the business is wildly profitable for them and their customers to this point are the more desirable ones - enterprise and business users who expense their products/services. This makes the pain of large product offerings/small production runs far less than you might imagine and places them in a better position than the Android manufacturers who only gain revenue from handset sales.

@PhuFighter
You make some great points about QNX, and I very much expect to see it on BlackBerry devices within the next 18 months.
But really.... Calling Rene an idiot....? Show a little maturity will ya?!

@tom
I think it's less of an article, more of an editorial...! :o)
I think there's room on the site for items like this, maybe not from the site editor, but I'd quite like to see a "round robin" style editorial happen, so see a post on CrackBerry from Rene about his views on RIM, a post on tipb from Kevin on his views of Apple at the mo and so on... Could be quite insightful??
Si,

@Phu,
I think QNX could run on current-gen hardware, it's Lazaridis who implied they needed dual-core procs.
And I never claimed not to be an idiot, though I try to be a gracious and polite one :)

:o) Rene
Banging QNX on current gen BlackBerry devices is pointless, really, the hardware "can" support it, but it would be more of an embarrassment to RIM rather than a game changer.
I'm hoping,, 18 months, and we'll have QNX running on a BB, with all the abilities we expect from a BlackBerry, plus everything QNX brings to the table (which really is why RIM bought them in the first place!!)

@Brian I love my iphone4 just for the record but like I stated my battery last maybe half a day I don't leave wifi on my 3G turned off and screen dimmed a lil less then half maybe I got a bad battery. I do receive close to 300 emails a day so that could be part of it, if I had my way I would have both a bb and an iPhone my bb used to get 2-3 days out of it

My iPhone 4 battery lasts more than a day. Unless I'm playing Infinity Blade. It's true BlackBerry doesn't have that problem.

So, in your mind, Apple was running away from Microsoft when they changed focus from the Mac to the iPhone/iPod and what is now called iOS?

Setting the stage, I have an iPhone 4, BB Torch, and EVO 4G all have service and I had a Palm Pre. So here is my complaint about many of these articles and comments. Most here are into tech and phones heavily, you live and breath this stuff. The average user is not. The want a device that works for them. They don't care if you can jail break, or play with the OS. If the phone has apps, does not crash or suck the battery down in 4 hours, they are cool with it. Smartphones are built with business and consumers in mind.
Blackberry has an image problem, it is a "business smart phone." They have dried with some small success to break into the consumer market with the Pearl, Curve, Storm, and now the Torch and Style. The Pearl had some success as did the Curve lines. The Storm is well named because it has been "stormy" with the first Storm and the second did improve but still had problems. Now the Torch is doing better. The touch screen is 90% + of Apple and HTC. IMO it is very good. It is the perfect phone for both the consumer AND business user. I think Blackberries main problem is image. Yes, the OS could be better (but Blackberry 6 is very nice), and they could catch up with processors and RAM and I hope they do. The Torch is my first BB and I am actually enjoying it. Yes, iOS and Android do somethings better, but the Torch is winning with me. Will it replace my iPhone it may or may not (but that is another post), replace Android, it could only time will tell.

@scottae316
I do love my torch... name me an iPhone that nativity can download podcasts as and when they are released ;) lol

1) In regards to Balsillie's comments on web apps, it should be noted that Apple doesn't require, enforce or even need native apps to replace web apps. The iPhone has supported web apps since day 1. It was the consumers who wanted native apps and as such developers made them.
2) RIM keep going on about how much better the Playbook is than the iPad, but they are making that comparison to iPad 1.0. By the time this thing ships, the iPad 2.0 will either be announced, released or launching very soon - and you can be damn sure they won't be much, if any better than that. Apple will more than likely have the A5 chip in there - a custom, Apple designed (not off the shelf) chip thats likely dual core, along with better features and battery life.

In Short they are not because you can use your blackberry in someway on the playbook, the market for the tablet is more of an iPad.
Fist thing first how much is the playbook more like the iPhone/iPad really?
Based on what RIM said the playbook has the business enterprise IT securities ,and the Playbook and things like the Web, email, and BBM can be vedo/manipulated on the bigger playbook screen.
Second thing is that in the tech community the BB users are upset with BB being old not the case with litte girl who has one are ging to be supper existed when they see all the new apps/ features when they get BlackBerry 6.
Third the plan of the RIM in short is make the tablet first get new users and get bb user to buy one and to get more developers. Even Andrew Rubin said something like that showing of a new os on a new platform then bring it back is a proven strategy that works.
RIM hopps that current users will buy the playbook because it is BlackBerry and because they will say that the BBM works on it. New to BB users will buy it because it has Flash (most regular people need flash and do not see it as a necessary evil) , it is not an Apple product, it will be cheeper ( at least the rummers point that way) , it will have dual core many tech people are going love that fact. And the business people who need those securities, the second part is that when all of these people buy a new playbook then developers will start to make the apps for the tablet.
Fourth and last , making the tablet first gives RIM time to make BBM and Email (bring key-things about the BB into QNX) QNX is the future of the BB phone and it is going to take a lest a year, this will give them the time that they ned to build those thing to the QNX platform. The now is for people to love the new OS and want it on their phones, even if you are angry with the BB OS now if you buy the playbook with the new QNX OS then you will strick around and buy for the QNX phones to come.
In short putting QNX on the tablet gives RIM the transformation time to switch from the BlackBerry OS to the PlayBook QNX OS.

God after reading this article i seriously feel like an idiot. there is no possible way this article could be any more bias towards her apple iphone. there are no good points in this article just stupid non fact based opinions. i am an iphone user since the 1st gen but bashing a company who basically just had a record quarter makes no sense. its articles like this that really make me wonder why i visit this site.

@ PhuFighter - "I’m using both my iphone and my BB because the BB just feels a lot more secure."
That's probably why a lot of people are still using BlackBerrys. Because they think, somehow, that maybe RIM has a better security thingy than Apple does. Whatever that security thingy is. Because RIM says it's better.

@ Adam - " i am an iphone user since the 1st gen but bashing a company who basically just had a record quarter makes no sense. its articles like this that really make me wonder why i visit this site."
OK. Here are some numbers for you: RIM's BlackBerry sales last quarter just barely exceeded iPhone sales (14.2 million to 14.1 million.) RIM's subscriber growth failed to meet analysts' expectations: 5.2 million new subscribers expected last quarter vs. 5.1 million actual new subscribers. That's almost 2.8 BlackBerrys sold per new subscriber. And what does that tell you? It tells you that RIM sells mostly to its existing customer base. They are milking their shrinking die-hard consumer fanbase and their locked-in corporate IT departments for all they're worth.
RIM also stated that they will no longer report quarterly new subscriber statistics. Most likely because subscriber growth dropped off a cliff in August. Just when iPhone 4 started shipping in volume. Coincidence? I think not. Looking forward, Apple is poised to have a massive holiday-season quarter, and RIM most certainly is not.
The co-CEOs are expecting a rapid decline and are already starting damage control. They will do anything to avoid saying one single negative thing about RIM, BlackBerry, QNX, and PlayBook. And if it means clamming up about the decline in new subscriber growth, that's what they'll do. Damage control is why Lazaridis was nearly incomprehensible at the Dive into Mobile conference. Swisher and Mossberg asked him questions for which there could only be worrying, negative responses. So he fell back to non-sequitur stay-on-message soundbites.
RIM's biggest mistake is trying to launch PlayBook, a brand new product category for them, before they fix their current BlackBerry lines. And now they're delaying PlayBook, presumably to get a look at iPad 2.0 so they can avoid being a full generation behind. Pitiful.

@SockRolid
BlackBerry's security reputation is well deserved, and superior to Apple's. Off the top of my head I can think of the remote SMS exploit and the remote root (er, sorry, "convenient web jailbreak") in the past year alone. Blackberries, while less functional, do not have -- or, if you insist of picking nits -- have not had exploits based on -- these types of serious vulnerabilities.

After the Storm Fiasco, RIM is hesitant to launch a major change to their blackberry line without testing it first. That's why they are launching QNX on the PlayBook first, as it allows them to see how it runs first before slapping it onto their smartphones and alienating part of their consumer base.

RIM is not clear on their positioning for the Playbook and has created a product that won't work for the consumer market or he business market (at least not in version 1).
To start with the Playbook is only wifi enabled which severely limits it's connectivity in the consumer space (how do you connect while on the bus or subway?). RIMs answer is you pair it with your other Blackberry to get cell data connection. Hmmm not exactly consumer friendly.
So, RIM must not be targeting the consumer space they must be going after the business user right? Well in that case why can the Playbook not connect to a corporate BES server over wifi? (again it needs to be paired to your other Blackberry in order to connect to your corporate mail)
Also from the app perspective it doesn't appear that BB apps will run on the Playbook. At least not initially.

You know, I don't think I've seen the Playbook In Portrait mode in any of the videos of it in action. I'm sure it does, but why haven't they shown it...?

@ (Copy of) Dev - I didn't mean to imply that RIM was insecure. I was chiding PhuFighter for not having more than a vague feeling of security as an excuse for using RIM's products.
I think bad guys would rather hack a bank's or e-tailer's servers and get millions of accounts than try to make a few bucks from a few dozen phishing victims before they're caught. But that's just me.

Isn't 80-90% of Ipads sold as WIFI only?
Besides... 3G/4G will be coming later in the year... this is just like Apple launch of the Ipad, wifi first, 3g later. (So, RIM is copying Apple)
As for BES access over wifi... looks like RIM will not have the security in place to do it, so why not access it though BB's which already have the security in place. I'm sure in 12 - 18 months; the next major versions of QNX will be able to do it after having some native BB apps for it. This also makes me believe that the playbook will not have its own PIN, b/c it looks like all the core BB apps are access though some sort of VNC connection. When broken, it's wiped from the playbook. You known it's a security thing :) ... Cleaver marketing if I say so.

The playbook won't be accessing the bes over wifi because it doesn't need to.
It dfoesnt store any data, no mails, calendar or contacts at they are all streamed over the bluetooth from the device. Think of it as more of a big bluetooth screen for your BlackBerry when it comes to your data.

@ Chris - "RIM is not clear on their positioning for the Playbook"
Amen brother. And sone of the traditional tech media (and analysts) are barely clear on what iPad actually is, nine months after its release. Many of them still refer to it as a "media tablet." Like it's a portable TV or DVD player.
And Apple is probably extremely happy that some media and analysts are clueless. The longer they and Apple's competitors dismiss iPad as a novelty entertainment device, the longer lead time Apple has on their competitors. Apple is still facing no serious competition in the pad computing (there, I said it) market. Especially not from all the wannabes who mashed up vaporware slates in time for last January's CES. Now, the upcoming iPad 2 announcement will loom over anything and everything pad-related at CES next month. It won't even be funny.
RIM (and all of Apple's pad computing would-be competitors) have two choices. They can try to do everything iPad does. Better than iPad does it. Tough sledding because everything iPad does has been designed, polished, and refined by Apple over the last nine years. Ever since iTunes was released months before the first iPod in 2001.
Or, the wannabes can find some feature that iPad doesn't do well or doesn't do at all. And exploit that weakness for all it's worth until Apple sees fit to add that feature to iPad. The problem with that approach is that the wannabe pad will become a niche device. It does one or more things that iPad doesn't do well, but iPad already does many things well. There's already "an app for that."
Some competitors are trying to beat iPad on price. That's the hardest thing to do, for several reasons. First, Apple gets very good per-unit prices on their components due to high purchase volumes. They make a gigantic order for, say, flash memory. That gives them great pricing and forces up prices for their competitors due to competitors' lower order sizes and scarcity after Apple's order is filled. Apple is the world's biggest consumer of flash memory, which lets them control the prices they get an the prices their competitors are forced to pay.
Second, hardware is the easy part. Just the first little baby step toward creating a satisfying user experience. The hardware is just an empty frame. It's the box the software comes in. The software is the hard part, and you can't cut corners. You skimp on software engineering, and your users will suffer through a terrible experience no matter how great the software is. It took years for Apple to slim down Mac OS X into iOS, then re-design, test, refine, re-re-design, re-test, re-refine, ad nauseam. And it's going to take RIM years to get QNX into a presentable form for their iPad wannabe. I wonder if they can milk their BlackBerry customer base for that long. They certainly aren't building their subscriber base much any more.

Meant to say "You skimp on software engineering, and your users will suffer through a terrible experience no matter how great the hardware is."

What I got out of Lazaridis' Dive into Mobile chat, was that RIM will basically rest on their BB6 laurels and their current(albeit waning) reputation for two or three years, until multiple-core becomes viable on smartphones.
By which time of course, their mindshare(amongst consumers) will the same as Palm's is today.

Remember all of those people who use to come here and argue that they need to use their BlackBerrys so they could email? I guess they've checked out some other phones. :lol:

I stopped reading this half way. You are not an expert neither do you work at rim so why are you Describing their strategy?
First, the blackberry will remain a business tool for a very long time. Qnx will make it's way to the phone. I don't even know where you got the information that it won't.
Second, it is hard to compare rim to apple and Microsoft who already have access to a desktop software and can easily without humongous licensing fees incorporate it in their phones.

@SockRolid
No, you were definitely implying a lack of security, unless you are now claiming some MoiP (Mind-reading over IP) ability to know Phu's feelings were vague, and not based on the easily checked security record of both companies' mobile devices. Then, when called on it, you dismiss security altogether with another MoIP demonstration, this time into the minds of bad guys everywhere. The question of hacking a bank's servers is totally irrelevant. To continue your tangent, most bad guys would rather rob a central bank than a branch office, but that does not make the branch office station any less vulnerable, or than it can ignore security. By any measure, Blackberry mobile devices have demonstrated a better security record than have iOS devices. If security is your overriding concern, you should go with a BB, because they have staked their entire company on it in a way that nobody else has. Obviously, you have to give up a lot of other goodies to pick a BB over iOS, but it is a tradeoff between RIM's better security and iOS superior (IMHO) platform. Consumers are voting with their dollars (I'm replying on my iPhone now, and don't miss my old 8830) that iOS is secure enough, but the security/feature tradeoff exists, and only the blindest of fanbois would deny it.

"Apple will more than likely have the A5 chip in there – a custom, Apple designed (not off the shelf) chip thats likely dual core, along with better features and battery life."
@nizy this is what you think. Really. With Apples product cycle that ipad wont happen for another three years. The next ipiss will have not change much, ad a cam here and one here, oh yes lets push the clock cycle and there you have it and call it the ipad S (S=speed). You apple fans are funny, very funny.

i don't know about the rest of you but for me actually being able to use my "phone" for voice calls is most important to me. And that has meant staying with my carrier that gives me most constant coverage no mater where i am. To me AT&T was not even a consideration - having been a AT&T / Cellular one and a Verizon customer simultaneousness, ( personal & work ). So if Apple "phone" products are available on Verizon i will consider them. Until then its still NEXTEL, yes - Nextel - with push to talk all over the country and Verizon for voice and data usage.

I hope they have an ace in the hole because if they don't, they're screwed.
I've played around w/blackberry products. They feel okay, but actually using them...lame. Apps suck, hardware is slow, OS is laggy. Just an overall bad experience.
Though, I am very disappointed in RIM. I honestly thought that they would get their act together. But no, they came out w/the Storm 2 and a bunch if Bold refreshes w/sub-par specs.
My friend has the Torch, and I know he doesn't like it. But because he is a blackberry diehard he puts up w/it. I think that RIM owes it to its users to change it up and get things going in the right direction. You can only be a one trick pony for so long till...well, you see what's happening now don't you? Nuff said.

I'm not a Blackberry user, but I do know that RIM has had 5.5 million new users in the last 3 months. Really, it is possible for non-Apple products to be successful too. Here's an article to offer a little counter balance:http://www.thestreet.com/yahoo/story/10950305/1/rim-defies-doomsayers-yet-again.html?cmven=YAHOO&cmcat=FREE&cmite=NA

Lol @ not speaking klingon. People want more out of phones now a days. I know people who boast their blackberrys ( especially the horrible Storm ) and have nothing to show for it except BBM rolls eyes. In all honesty , those people all said they would get the iPhone if it was on their network. Blackberry needs to give people more if they want to grow.