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RIM head dismisses non-phone devices

updated 02:15 pm EDT, Mon May 18, 2009

RIM Dismisses Non Phones

Research in Motion's co-chief Jim Balsillie late last week said his company doesn't intend to expand beyond its familiar niche of BlackBerry smartphones. In an interview, the executive explained that netbooks or other, non-phone portable hardware is outside of RIM's focus and that non-phone PDAs, convertible tablet PCs and "other specialist devices" rarely gain traction. Cost, portability and networking are cited as too important to the success of a given device.

"These [alternative] devices don't work," Balsillie said. "They've been down this path. At the end of the day what we've really found is that if they can do it on a BlackBerry that's what they'll want."

Although one of the most successful smartphone producers in the world with 7.8 million phones shipped just in its last quarter, RIM is facing opposition from companies that are less defined by their phone business or are willing to branch out. Apple also offers the iPod touch and is rumored to be developing a larger multi-touch tablet or netbook, while Nokia is exploring netbooks of its own.

By Electronista Staff


  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    in the long run

    can RIM survive only making smartphones? I think it is very smart of them not to try to diversify outside of their core competencies. Too many risks of spending a lot of money only to s**** it up.

    I wonder if in the long run they end up getting acquired by somebody...

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: in the long run

    I don't see why not. Can't they belong to a niche market? It works for Apple and computers, and Apple and phones.

  1. Salty

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jul 2005



    See this is where you're gonna send up seeing the difference between RIM and Apple. Apple has a highly portable desktop class OS, with years and year of development by some brilliant developers. RIM has a great platform that does ONE thing incredibly well (email) they've got devices that are great for txting on, emailing, and in general communicating.

    Apple makes an OK phone tied to a brilliant mobile OS that they developed in a relatively short time all things considered, again because they leveraged an already existing product.

    RIM on the other hand makes a plethora of brilliant phones and communication devices tied to an OS that is very specialized that they're continuing to throw more on top of.

    Now am I saying RIM couldn't push it's way in to other markets? No, are they likely though? I kinda don't think so. In fact nobody even knows who RIM is, they know what a BlackBerry is, but the product line is far overshadowing the company. If RIM came out with a new product line they could either confuse people heavily as to what a BlackBerry is, or they could come out with another device that nobody would even know what put out by the same people who make the BlackBerry.

    Essentially the Berry OS is not going to scale well to things like Netbooks or desktops. I hope that RIM is actually working on a more scalable desktop class OS behind closed doors, cause I really respect the company. But I think as the computer and the phone converge Apple is better poised to take the lead.

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