updated 05:50 pm EST, Thu December 16, 2010
RIM insists companies delaying iPad for PlayBook
RIM during the call discussing its fall 2010 results claimed that companies were delaying their iPad plans to test the BlackBerry PlayBook. Co-CEO Jim Balsillie said that existing BlackBerry customers were stalling plans for "other tablets" to see if the PlayBook was worth the expense. Pent-up demand for the PlayBook was "really overwhelming," he said.
Companies would adopt the tablet due to concerns about security. There hasn't been a client that "hasn't beaten us down" to try and get the PlayBook, Balsillie said, citing Fortune 500 firms as examples. Exchange, Flash and other elements were also drawing customers, as they would mirror the desktop experience.
The executive criticized Apple and insisted that RIM had already claimed the advantage in performance over the iPad from the dual-core 1GHz processor. It would also provide a more accurate web experience and eliminate the need for proprietary tools and "unnecessary apps," he said, taking a shot at native iPad apps converting existing websites. Many of the claims were purely theoretical as the PlayBook isn't unofficially expected to ship until March in the US, just before a second-generation iPad that will likely have its own dual-core processor.
The Canadian firm added unusually that its predictions for early 2011, which gave it $5.5 billion to $5.7 billion of revenue, omitted the BlackBerry PlayBook altogether and hinted that this might grow. Although deliberately not mentioned by name, the iPad was almost certainly the target of the comments as it had 95.5 percent of the whole tablet market in the summer and will have only seen a small impact from the Samsung Galaxy Tab so far.
The statements partly contradict what has been happening in the industry. PlayBook demand may be low based on a cross-section study of corporate buyers. It also lost a major customer at least temporarily with a JPMorgan iPad test run that could see Apple's slate given out, and not the PlayBook, in one of the largest American financial institutions.
RIM also reiterated that it plans larger PlayBook sizes and mentioned that there were "different shapes and forms" of tablets that Balsillie implied would be shown in 2011. For the known seven-inch model, more would be made of its media features and other elements at CES in early January.