Q&A: RIM Director on plans for Playbook

* How does BlackBerry see itself positioned in the current market?

RIM’s success is built on a history of pioneering scientific research and technological excellence. The company has a remarkable record of innovation and has changed the way people work and communicate.

We believe that affordable smartphones, such as the BlackBerry smartphones, coupled with services such as the BlackBerry Internet Service have the potential to bring Internet connectivity to many small businesses and consumers in Africa who could not afford it in the past.

BlackBerry smartphones are giving a whole new segment of Internet users’ access to communications, multimedia, navigation and personal productivity applications that allow them to stay in touch with everything that matters at work and at home.

* On a global scale, how does RIM compete with Android and Apple?

RIM continues to enter new markets and grow sales within existing markets. RIM is also focused on its strategy of aligning with its 595+ carriers and distribution partners.

This is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. RIM was in the space from the very beginning and we’re continuing to grow. We’ve focused the past 2-3 years on growing our company globally and have quickly become the top selling smartphone in many countries around the world. It’s a BIG market and we’re in control of our destiny. It’s a competitive environment, but we’re in a front row seat and feel really good about our position.

* The BlackBerry is very successful in SA. Why is that?

BlackBerry smartphones offer an excellent set of features for social networking and unique applications like BlackBerry App World and BBM, which allow users to easily share updates, images, information and opinions with friends and family in real-time.

The BlackBerry Internet Service is another reason for the brand’s local success. For R59 per month for prepaid and post-paid options, the BlackBerry Internet Service offers unlimited on-device Internet browsing and email access at the most affordable rate in South Africa. This service is unique to BlackBerry smartphones and makes access to mobile email, Internet, instant messaging and social networking more affordable for a wide range of customers.

*What are the future plans for RIM and BlackBerry in SA?

The mobile computing market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. RIM was in the space from the very beginning and we plan to continue to lead and drive the market by offering customers innovative products and real value for money.

* How does the BlackBerry PlayBook compare to the iPad2?

The new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is a professional-grade tablet that delivers cutting-edge hardware features and one of the world’s most robust and flexible operating systems. The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised web browsing and high performance multimedia.

With great support for Adobe Flash Player 10.3, Adobe Mobile AIR and HTML-5, the BlackBerry PlayBook provides customers with an uncompromised, high-fidelity web experience and offers them the ability to enjoy all of the sites, games and media on the web.

*What are the limitations to the BlackBerry PlayBook if users don’t have a BlackBerry?

The BlackBerry PlayBook can be used in conjunction with a BlackBerry smartphone or it can be used on its own (i.e. standalone). Users without a BlackBerry smartphone will still be able to use a Wi-Fi connection to experience the uncompromised web browsing and superior multimedia capabilities.

* What is the future of tablets in a business environment?

We believe that the tablet has a lot to offer the enterprise and that tablets such as the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is a great business tool. Designed from the ground up with the robust security and enterprise-class performance that professional users demand, the BlackBerry PlayBook is opening up new opportunities to do business better.

The BlackBerry PlayBook helps businesses take communication and productivity to the next level, while benefiting from the security, manageability, and reliability you expect from the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution.

It gives employees the power to share information and take necessary information with them on the go. The BlackBerry PlayBook also allows them to get access to the best information and to share information back to the organisation, all from a very compact and portable form factor.

* Will the BlackBerry PlayBook have day-one app support (market place)?

Yes, BlackBerry App World will be accessible from the BlackBerry PlayBook in South Africa at launch. There are approximately 3,000 apps available for the BlackBerry PlayBook already. Of course, the selection will continue to grow as more and more developers get their hands on a BlackBerry PlayBook.

* There has been talk of Android 2.3 support. Why make that decision?

RIM has announced that it will launch an “app player” that provides an application run-time environment for Android v2.3 apps. This new app player will allow users to download Android apps from BlackBerry App World and run them on their BlackBerry PlayBook. This will make the available pool of applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet much bigger.

* What are the potential opportunities for 3rd party developers?

The power-packed into the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, coupled with the unprecedented openness of its development environment, has opened up a world of opportunity for South African application developers.

RIM has taken a unique approach to the tablet market, which will empower developers to create truly useful and innovative applications for the consumer and professional markets.

This is one of the broadest and deepest platforms to develop on. You can expect to see BlackBerry evolve various development technologies to deliver the most powerful, flexible and open experiences for developers whether they choose to build with HTML5, Java, Adobe Flash, Adobe AIR, or native C/C++.

The native SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook enables C/C++ application development on the BlackBerry Tablet OS. Two optional app players lend support for BlackBerry Java apps and Android apps to the tablet.

Unlike many competitors, the BlackBerry PlayBook supports HTML5 and Adobe AIR development for developers that want to leverage industry-standard technologies to create fun and innovative applications for BlackBerry PlayBook users.

* What is RIM’s roll-out plan for future PlayBooks?

Distribution channels and timing of availability in South Africa will be announced at a later date. As soon as a new product is ready to be launched we will issue a press release announcing the launch

Source: itnewsafrica


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