RIM: "Playbook redefines what a tablet should do"

RIM: "Playbook redefines what a tablet should do"

Summary: As RIM gears up for the launch of the Playbook tablet, all eyes are on pent-up demand in the enterprise.


On Research in Motion's conference call with analysts to discuss third quarter earnings result, there was the obligatory comments about the quarter that just passed - but clearly, one of the biggest topics of interest centered around the upcoming launch of the Playbook tablet.

The company didn't offer many new details on the Playbook, other than to suggest that plans for a launch in the first quarter are still on track and that initial feedback from partners and "many key customers" has been positive.

One thing was clear, though. As important as the consumer market has been for some competitors in the smartphone and tablet space, as well as for RIM in some international markets, make no mistake: enterprise business is RIM's big target market.

On the call, co-CEO Jim Balsillie said:

We have real differentiation and real opportunities for the extension of the business. The pent-up interest in the playbook is really overwhelming.

Specifically, he noted carrier billing and value added services, suggesting that there are a "litany of things happening in that area for (the) playbook and smartphone over the year."

For RIM, the future isn't necessarily just about growth in new markets, it's new categories and new services. Balsillie said: "I think we're laying the pieces for sustaining growth for a really long long time."

As for interest among business customers, Balsillie said it was "uniformly strong... I can't think of one account that's not beating us down to get units," noting that the first shipments will be geared at enterprise customers because there's so much demand and interest. He suggested that there's so much interest that some customers are delaying their tablet-purchasing decisions in anticipation of Playbook.

Why so much interest? Being enterprise ready, including push technology, enterprise-grade architecture and tools, overall performance and reputation of being secure cannot be underestimated, he said.

"I think the Playbook redefines what a tablet should do," he said. "It sets the bar way higher on performance."

Specifically, the company is looking to be enterprise ready in areas such as secure VPN, document viewing and editing and enterprise apps that will be ready out of the box. Balsillie said:

I've talked to a lot of CIOs from Fortune 500 companies... The enterprise grade is the really big big thing... They have to be the keepers of the system integrity and I think we've got that figured out in the way we've implemented this.

Looking ahead, the company's revenue forecast for this quarter doesn't reflect anything Playbook-related, though there will be some Playbook-related operating expenses in Q4 as the company begins spending on launch preparation.

For RIM, which clearly comes across as bullish about the prospects of Playbook, the shift in business model is about grabbing position in a rapidly expanding space. He said:

This is not just competition between players in this space. It's expanding to do things you normally wouldn't do... Business models are changing and I think we'll have some pretty pleasant surprises in what we're doing in calendar year 2011.

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Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, BlackBerry, Tablets

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  • what a tablet should do?? Do you mean is supposed to do barely nothing?

    Last I head they don't even have a working browser (or an app) ..... so what is it they are redefining?? So far it does NOTHING.
    • "So far it does NOTHING."


      What a coincidence. From the enterprise perspective, neither does the iPad.
      • Not completely true ... but partially correct

        @itpro_z The difference is that the Playbook does NOTHING on the enterprise and NOTHING on the consumer side.

        In other words, you can't claim that your product is "redefining" anything when it is not even working.
      • We have 500 playbooks

        @itpro_z my company, one of the top banks in the nation has over 500 iPads out in the field. My wife's company, another Fortune 500, also has the iPad out in sales. Not sure where you are but you don't seem to know what you're talking about.
    • It's not my product

      @wackoae, I don't work for RIM. I have a slight interest in the Playbook, as I know that RIM will focus on the enterprise. Whether it will succeed or not none of us know, but I do bristle a bit at the suggestion by some that we don't need any other tablets. The iPad is a nice piece of consumer electronics, but offers little to many of us.
      • Tell that to many in the medical

        /health field, education and those in business who are finding ways to use the iPad outside the consumer space.

        About the only ones who have no use for an iPad, or even bother trying to make it fit or work, are typically the inane, irrational Apple bashers who wouldn't give Apple credit for anything and/or wouldn't be caught dead with an Apple product.

        Funny how so many are falling over themselves trying to duplicate this "worthless" piece of technology.
      • we hear this all the time..

        @itpro_z.. BUT.. what will the Playbook do that the iPad won't? no one has an answer.. just vague BS... enterprise this and that.. but can't point to anything concrete.. i have not heard anyone point to any concrete anything that the Playbook will do an the iPad won't that makes it more "enterprise ready".. Citrix, SAP that are responsible for the security and confidential files of Fortune 500 companies and have embrace the iPad have apps for it etc..

        these enterprise ready claims are complete and utter BS and everyone knows it... please point to anything concrete that makes the Playbook more "enterprise ready" than an iPad.
      • RE: RIM:

        @doctorSpoc, many corporations who are already using BlackBerry smartphones talk about how the PlayBook will very easily plug into their existing network.

        Something else RIM has been talking about is giving enterprise the ability to rollout installations of apps easily over a larger number of units. Compared to the iPad which apps have to be installed individually through iTunes. Also the ability for IT lock down or disable certain features easily. Corporations like the idea of a multi-touch device, but there's a lot of issues where iPad doesn't fit their needs and RIM is looking to address this.
      • RE: RIM:

        @Matt_Fabb@... <br><br><i>many corporations who are already using BlackBerry smartphones talk about how the PlayBook will very easily plug into their existing network.</i><br><br>it doesn't connect into anything in any special way.. it's a WiFi only device.. it's has no cellular connection option.. it can't even be tethered to anything other than a blackberry.. that is just stupid! these guys are shooting themselves in the foot right out of the door.. right there..<br><br><i>Something else RIM has been talking about is giving enterprise the ability to rollout installations of apps easily over a larger number of units. Compared to the iPad which apps have to be installed individually through iTunes.</i><br><br>This is just completely and utterly false.. Apple likewise has an Enterprise program for distribution your own in house apps and apps available in the app store outside of iTunes and even remotely.. this is just pure ignorance we are talking about here on your part..<br><br><i>Also the ability for IT lock down or disable certain features easily. Corporations like the idea of a multi-touch device, but there's a lot of issues where iPad doesn't fit their needs and RIM is looking to address this.</i><br><br>again.. you're speak from ignorance here.. apple likewise has tools for IT departments to configure devices, do remote wipes, remote app updates and installation... etc<br><br>so you are zero for 3.. none of the things you mentioned are things that aren't available on an iPad.. <br><br>see the thing is you haven't actually looked into it (doesn't seem to stop you from talking about it though.. lol), but enterprises that have looked into realize that it has the hooks and controls they need, the security they need.. you honestly think that companies like Citrix and SAP would be bullish on the platform if it was viable and secure??<br><br>as i said.. this comes down to straight up ignorance.. the level of ignorance is absolutely astounding.. and people like you make false assumptions and then are willing to speak with a degree of authority on things you are blissfully ignorant of.. aren't you in the least be embarrassed that every thing you wrote here is false and obviously just wrong assumption that you have made without ever bothering to check out in the least?? some of you people are a joke!<br><br><a href="http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/enterprise/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/enterprise/</a>
      • Typical Fanboy

        @MacCanuck:<br><br>He said "offers little to many of us"; he didn't say the iPad has absolutely no use.<br><br>So before you go berserk and call people basher or hater, take a deep breath and learn to read.<br><br>It is the typical fanboy reactions like yours that most people hate, not Apple.
      • Corporate IT is where technology goes to die

        @itpro_z It use to be that the IT departments were forward thinkers and had better kit than consumers. Now that dynamic has changed. Often people leave their modern OS and gadgets to go "back in time" at their place of work.
      • RE: RIM:

        @doctorSpoc, you got me there, I was completely unaware of Apple's iOS enterprise efforts. My mistake and thanks for including a link.

        Meanwhile the PlayBook is coming out with a 3G, 4G options, just not at launch.

        Meanwhile, I'll provide a link of my own, where companies talk very positively about the PlayBook fitting into their infrastructure:

        What I was saying is based on what companies like this are saying in articles. I've seen other articles once again with quotes about why companies want the PlayBook over the iPad.
    • RE: RIM:

      @wackoae RIM have demoed a working browser and in a video compared it to the iPad, showing how much faster it was. The browser is just not in the PlayBook simulator for developers, as they are still working on it. However, it apparently should be available in a few weeks.

      Meanwhile according to RIM, they have 16,000 PlayBook apps submitted from developers already.
      • they demo'd a &quot;browser&quot; that was not yet ready for public consumption..

        @Matt_Fabb@... it was demo'd by a RIM engineer, filmed by a RIM engineer under very controlled circumstances.. other demo's in live circumstances the browser was not demo'd.. that should tell you at what point that "browser" is in that they wouldn't take the chance to demo it live.. only on tape.. event in the demos of the device it's very controlled.. no one is allowed to touch the screen or click on anything other than the RIM employee..

        this is what is refered to as demo ware.. just cook something up to make it look like we have a real live product with a heart beat here even though it REALLY far from being fully cooked.. you guys are really falling for these smoke an mirror.. you could actually do those demos just by whipping up some interactive Adobe Flash files.. with the device not working at all..
      • RE: RIM:

        @Matt_Fabb@... <br><br>We all know the Playbook doesn't really exist since no one here has ever touched it. So there is no web browser whatsoever. You are crazy! -s-
  • How about getting the thing out first..

    And hope that the iPad v.2 doesn't put a damper on their plans. Remember how everyone were anticipating the HP Slate? How's that doing in the enterprise? What about the Dell Streak, any enterprise takers?
    • When was the HP Slate released?

      @dave95. Last I checked (about 2 secs ago), it was still vaporware.
      • RE: RIM:


        I believe it was released in October. Demand was so high that HP had to nearly double the production run; from 5,000 units to 9,000units.

      • 9000 orders for HP Slate.. &quot;Extraordinary demand..&quot; LMAO...

        @msalzberg.. i hear that one of the accessories is asbestos gloves and welder's face shield to to protect you from the heat when you fire up Word.. lol..
      • RE: RIM:

        9,000 orders when 5,000 were anticipated? I know the numbers aren't extraordinary, but just look at that percentage wise. Almost 100% more than anticipated, and this is after they changed it to be an enterprise only thing. I think there would be many more if they had advertised to normal people.
        Michael Alan Goff