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RIM buys Astonishing Tribe to boost BlackBerry, PlayBook UI

updated 08:15 am EST, Thu December 2, 2010

RIM snaps up Astonishing Tribe for BlackBerry UI

RIM today said it had bought The Astonishing Tribe in a bid to improve its mobile interfaces. The Swedish design outlet is being brought onboard to help the UI on both its BlackBerry phones and on the PlayBook tablet. RIM's CTO David Yach didn't say how soon users could expect Astonishing Tribe's work to influence the design.

The team is best known for its work customizing the Android interface on the T-Mobile G1 from October 2008 and had focused primarily on custom Android layers ever since, such as the Cascades interface framework for apps and its Home widgets for the homescreen. It has focused on interfaces that are more heavily gesture-driven and which can take advantage of more advanced hardware, such as 3D graphics and physics. It's unmentioned but likely that the company will abandon Android and switch to a BlackBerry exclusive.

An acquisition of Astonishing Tribe hints at RIM being eager to turn around its reputation for aging interfaces, a liability which has cost market share and appeal as BlackBerry veterans have flocked to Android and iPhone instead. It already reworked its interface with BlackBerry 6, but it plans to bring the QNX-based roots of the PlayBook interface to its smartphone line and is likely looking to advance the experience as it transitions away from its legacy efforts.

By Electronista Staff


  1. UmarOMC

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Good move!

    I thought they should do something like this soon after getting my Bold 9700... they needed some real help in the GUI department!

  1. imactheknife

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2003


    Rim is in trouble

    yeah they still have loads of cash, but when your having to snag up companies to come up with something new and cool it really shows how unprepared they are in regards to the future. Basically they were caught with their pants around their ankles and everyone blew past them.

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