RIM PlayBook Straddles Corporate, Consumer Worlds, Exec Says

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 03-17-2011

David Heit talks a lot about the need for balance when discussing Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook device, the company's challenge to the Apple iPad's dominance in the burgeoning tablet market.

Holding a PlayBook during an interview with eWEEK at a recent SAP event in Boston, Heit, RIM's vice president of strategy, said company executives and engineers settled on the 7-inch design as the perfect starting point. A 5-inch screen--like on Dell's first Streak device--is too small to get the full tablet experience, he said. In addition, RIM's focus on the enterprise for its device meant that a 10-inch screen would be too large for many businesspeople--a salesman will want to be able to comfortably hold the device in one hand, for example.

RIM's enterprise focus also is important when discussing what users will want to do with the tablet, Heit said. Tablets such as the iPad, Motorola's Xoom and Samsung's Galaxy Tab are aimed at consumers, but they're making their way into the corporate world, part of the larger trend of consumer products crossing over into the commercial space. RIM wanted to ensure that the enterprise-level security that corporations expect from the company's BlackBerry smartphones were present in the PlayBook, but also that the device would fit easily in a user's personal life. Unlike smartphones, people will not want to carry multiple tablets around to separate the personal from the professional, he said. The PlayBook would have to be able to work in both worlds, with enterprise-level features and such consumers aspects as an intuitive UI and a wide choice of applications.

"We're really talking about a lifestyle [device]," Heit said.

RIM is about to enter an increasingly competitive market, with just about every smartphone and PC maker looking to get a share of the growing tablet space that was reinvigorated when Apple introduced its first iPad a year ago. Apple, which on March 11 launched the iPad 2, saw its market share drop from 93 percent in the third quarter of 2010 to 73 percent in the fourth quarter, thanks to increased competition, according to market research firm IDC.

For more, read the eWEEK article: RIM PlayBook Balances Corporate, Consumer Demands, Executive Says.