RIM's 'PlayBook': Protect the enterprise house

Summary:Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook has arrived and the goal is very clear: Protect the company's enterprise turf and preannounce an early 2011 product that may make it into the IT budgeting process.

"We must protect this house."

Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook has arrived and the goal is very clear: Protect the company's enterprise turf and preannounce an early 2011 product that may make it into the IT budgeting process. At the very least, RIM is hoping its PlayBook can at least pause Apple's iPad corporate encroachment.

In many respects, RIM got back to its roots with the pitch for the PlayBook (Techmeme).  If RIM can't beat the iPad on the consumer front it certainly can provide integration with all the server and security features the company offers on the back end with the introduction of the PlayBook.

RIM might as well have emulated those Under Armour commercials where football players start chanting "we have to protect this house."

Let's recap some of the key RIM phrases from the BlackBerry developer powwow and statement:

  • "Perfect for either large organizations or an "army of one", the BlackBerry PlayBook is designed to give users what they want, including uncompromised web browsing, true multitasking and high performance multimedia, while also providing advanced security features, out-of-the-box enterprise support and a breakthrough development platform for IT departments and developers."
  • "RIM set out to engineer the best professional-grade tablet in the industry."
  • "It includes dual HD cameras for video capture and video conferencing that can both record HD video at the same time."
  • "Thanks to the seamless and secure Bluetooth pairing experience and the highly secure underlying OS architecture, the BlackBerry PlayBook is enterprise ready and compatible (out-of-the-box) with BlackBerry Enterprise Server."
  • "When connected over Bluetooth, the smartphone content is viewable on the tablet, but the content actually remains stored on the BlackBerry smartphone and is only temporarily cached on the tablet (and subject to IT policy controls)."
  • "The BlackBerry Tablet OS is built upon the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture, one of the most reliable, secure and robust operating system architectures in the world. Neutrino has been field hardened for years and is being used to support mission-critical applications in everything from planes, trains and automobiles to medical equipment and the largest core routers that run the Internet."

Now in between those enterprise messages were other key specs like support for Adobe Flash, HTML 5 and other goodies like media management, ad platforms and perks for Web developers. But it's clear that RIM is positioning the PlayBook as an enterprise device---because a consumer isn't going to care that QNX runs critical infrastructure. It's not that much different than what Dell is trying to do with its Streak.

That RIM positioning is critical since the enterprise is the company's core. If the enterprise goes, RIM is toast. It's really that simple. With the PlayBook introduction, RIM has at the very least planted some doubt among enterprise customers that were pondering iPad pilots.

For good measure, RIM teamed up with Oracle, IBM and SAP to talk enterprise super apps.

Add it up and RIM is just doing what it does best: Protecting its enterprise house.


Topics: Hardware, BlackBerry, Mobility


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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