by Anton Shilov
08/25/2011 | 11:26 PM
While Hewlett-Packard pulls the plug on webOS as well as smartphones and tablets, struggling Research in Motion (RIM) remains completely committed to both its QNX platform as well as BlackBerry PlayBook enterprise-class media tablet. The company's motives are easy to understand: for RIM, QNX is the only future.
“This [QNX and PlayBook] is our platform, and this is our future. We stand 100% behind it,” said Robert Crow, vice president of industry and government relations for RIM.
The PlayBook tablet itself is based on QNX software technology which RIM acquired last year. Just like Google Android, QNX utilizes the common POSIX [portable operating system interface for unix] standard that defines application programming interfaces, utilities interfaces, shells and other technologies. Technologically, it should be relatively easy to allow Android applications to run on QNX, which will greater enhance capabilities of QNX-powered BlackBerry PlayBook as well as potential future smartphones.
While initial welcome for BlackBerry tablet was lukewarm, for RIM, it is simply impossible to drop the platform of its slate device. The company is specialized on smartphones and it simply cannot afford exiting its primary business despite of the fact that its market share is declining, while sales are growing slowly. RIM reported shipping only 500 thousand PlayBook media tablets in its first quarter on the market.
"I believe RIM’s assurances that it plans to stay in the market. But continued commitment is no guarantee of success. Product strategists at RIM have a steep climb ahead of them. The PlayBook lacks the content ecosystem that Apple and Amazon tablets have, and it doesn’t work with as broad a range of consumer and enterprise software as Windows 8 tablets will. [...] It could be that the PlayBook will find a home in specific vertical markets like government, where the PlayBook is the only tablet certified for use. But RIM product strategists may not have unlimited time and resources to feel around for a PlayBook product strategy," said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst for consumer product strategy at Forrester Research.