Research in Motion may be watching its mobile business crumble away at its feet, but that’s not the Canadian company’s only concern. It has sided with Nokia and spoken out against Apple’s nano-SIM proposal, accusing its employees of vote rigging by registering themselves under a different affiliation.
To make its iPhone 4 smaller and thinner than previous iPhones, one of the steps Apple took was making the SIM card smaller. This saw the birth of the micro-SIM, which is slowly making its way into other smartphones, such as the Nokia Lumia 800.
But Apple is still unhappy with the size of existing SIM cards, and it is pushing to make them even smaller for future iPhones. But other smartphone makers are against the idea.
If Research in Motion is gambling on its future, it picked the right venue: the Las Vegas-based CES 2012. The Waterloo, Ont. company plans to introduce an updated version of its PlayBook Operating System, as well as its new BlackBerry 7.1 software amid a storm of criticism. But can new software alone resurrect a troubled tech company?
It seems it’s all RIM can do these days just to hang on to the, well, rim. A new report by Business Insider reveals the same predictable result in last quarter’s round of the Smartphone Wars: Apple’s subscriber base is growing, with Android also growing, but at twice the speed — and mostly at the expense of Blackberry-maker Research In Motion.
Founded in 2010, Digitude Innovations is a company based in Virginia that has decided against selling products or services, but chooses instead to sue other companies for patent infringement. Yes, it’s a patent troll. And according to one report, it’s doing all of Apple’s dirty work.
Other than Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy Tab, Research In Motion’s upcoming BlackBerry Playbook seems like it will be the first real competition to the iPad’s dominance over the tablet market when it is released in early 2011.
Featuring a 7-inch display, a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and both front and back-facing cameras, as well as an entirely new operating system based on Adobe Air, the BlackBerry Playbook certainly has the specs to make a splash… but a lot will depend on whether or not the price is competitive with the iPad.
According to RIM CEO Jim Balsillie, the BlackBerry PlayBook will at least match the entry-level iPad’s price when it drops. In an interview with Business Week, Balsillie said:
“The product will be very competitively priced,” and when asked whether it will be about $500, Balsillie said “no, it will be under that.”
Good news so far, but my guess is that he’s referring to a subsidized price. The Samsung Galaxy Tab has roughly the same specs as the PlayBook and it doesn’t cost under $500 without a subsidy. Given that RIM exclusively makes phones and 3G-connected devices, I’d speculate that the PlayBook will end up being cheaper than an iPad… but only as long as you’re willing to sign a two-year contract for the “savings.”
In the past, Blackberry makers Research In Motion have had questionablesuccess in updating their handsets to be competitive in a post-iPhone world, but that’s not about to stop them from challenging Apple’s iPad: the company is expected to debut their own 7-inch tablet at next week’s RIM Developer Conference.
Rumored to be named the BlackPad, RIM’s iPad-clone is expected to run some variation of the the QNX operating system instead of their own Blackberry OS 6. At 7 inches, the BlackPad would be closer to the (still untested at market) form factor of the Samsung Galaxy Tab than the iPad’s 9.7-inch display, and would likely be similar to the Galaxy Tab in other key specs as well, such as dual camera capability.
Interestingly, sources speaking to the WallStreet Journal say that RIM is going a curious direction when it comes to 3G: the only way you will be able to access cellular networks on a BlackPad is by tethering it to a BlackBerry smartphone.