RIM CEO: Time to squash BlackBerry myths

Summary:Research In Motion chief executive Thorsten Heins tackles questions about the Canadian mobile maker's enterprise focus and the need for the new BlackBerry 10 operating system

...the first software blocks. They weren't integrated, they were single software blocks. They were all so excited about showing me the calendar and how the calendar was integrated and some games and messaging, and I was looking at it and I was actually watching something else.

It was the first raw developer device and you know what intrigued me most and really gave me the confidence that we did the right thing? There was no stuttering on the high-resolution screen. There was no hour-glassing. There was no freeze — it just went through all the demos without any hiccup. That gave me a great deal of confidence that this platform is rock solid, that we have something in our hands we can really build the future on.

What happens between now and when we launch — there's a lot of hard work still ahead of us. What you see is a prototype. There's still integration work going on. When you build devices, you need to have a lot of test time. We call this hip time, where people in RIM actually carry devices, beta testers and that's where you're finally able to see how well you approach the final date.

Then all the reports flow in — we have an automatic reporting system — about the quality on the device. The software guys need to take all these quality topics that come up and burn them down — that's what we call it. We are approaching that moment, and then you go in with the carriers.

Will BlackBerry 7 go away when BlackBerry 10 launches? What about PlayBook?
We just successfully launched a very successful BB7 entry-level device. We have the Jazz family out there. We're still working on boarding people from feature phone to smartphones. That is probably a trend for the next two years and we want to be really strong in this to build our installed base.

We want to use the best DNA of BlackBerry as an enterprise productivity success tool and then if that works, take it to consumer.

Tablet will be focused on what is the real value of a tablet. It's hard to make it successful as a pure hardware play. We want to use the best DNA of BlackBerry as an enterprise productivity success tool and then if that works, take it to consumer. So we will continue that franchise but we will position it slightly differently.

We will bring a 4G PlayBook to the market later this year. We will continue this [development] because I see it as an on-ramp not into the tablet business but as an on-ramp into mobile computing and we need to follow that path to get into mobile computing in the enterprise and with consumers.

You've shown a touchscreen device, but what about the BlackBerry keyboard?
We focused a lot on the typing experience on a touch BlackBerry because we are known for typing. We want the typing experience on BlackBerry to be the best in the world, be it a physical keypad, the touchscreen or be it a physical keyboard.

We have the best physical keypad on the planet and we don't want to give this up. There are still people who love the hardware reaction of the physical keyboard. We know where our strengths are. We won't lose the focus on physical keyboards. That would be just plain wrong for us.

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Topics: Mobility, Smartphones


Mary Branscombe is a freelance tech journalist. Mary has been a technology writer for nearly two decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the web and most things inbetween.

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