Way out, man. That might encapsulate the Thursday remarks by a Research In Motion executive on whether the Waterloo, Ontario-based company’s upcoming PlayBook can compete with Apple’s iPad. “I think the PlayBook redefines what a tablet should do,” RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in what some members of the media termed “a several minute rant”.
The tablet market will move away from “a proprietary SDK and unnecessary apps,” Balsillie said in response to a question from JP Morgan analyst Rod Hall. The comment, aimed at Apple, was RIM’s latest attack on the Cupertino, Calif. company’s grip on the nascent tablet market.
The RIM co-CEO said consumers will be more interested in “Web fidelity and tool familiarity.” In November, Balsillie slammed the iPad, calling talk Apple has surpassed the BlackBerry maker as a product of “Apple’s distortion field.” In the same talk at the Web 2.0 Summit, Balsillie said: “You don’t need an app for the Web.”
RIM is “just well ahead on the PlayBook, well ahead internationally, and extending very very well,” the RIM co-CEO concluded.
Prior to his comments, RIM released encouraging November quarter earnings figures. The numbers showed RIM shipped 14.2 BlackBerries during the quarter, just slightly ahead of Apple’s 14.1 million iPhone shipments for September. Despite the promising results, analysts point out RIM’s portion of North American smartphone sales have fallen from 50 percent a year ago to 27 percent. Additionally, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu expressed concern about the company’s continued performance, given “the ongoing pressure, particularly from Android, in international markets.”