Dow Jones’ Roger Cheng reports:
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM) might be a bit late to the game, but it finally unveils its highly-anticipated tablet computer and operating system in an effort to attract more consumers.
WSJ has the details, including this great paragraph describing where RIM currently stands among consumers:
The announcements come as RIM revamps its iconic BlackBerry smartphones—originally made for businesses to handle email—for a market driven increasingly by consumers looking for fast handsets and cool software. Users and developers complain BlackBerry’s operating system is slow, clunky and lacks fun apps; the handsets are facing tough competition from Apple’s iPhone as well a handsets that run on Google Inc.’s Android operating system, particularly in the critical U.S.
On paper, Research in Motion’s Playbook tablet has a lot going for it, including a dual-core processor, full Flash, two high-definition cameras, and USB ports.
But in the end, it’s still all about the applications. RIMM faces the same dilemma Palm did with its new smartphones: an unproven product that may not attract app developers like Apple (AAPL) or Android.
RIMM is spending the latter half of its presentation focusing on “Super Apps” and making life easier for developers. IDC’s Al Hilwa notes that it will still take some time to build up the number of apps available to the product, which runs on different software than Blackberrys.
The Playbook, unlike the Blackberry, will not feature a cellular connection. So who will sell the tablet? RIMM has traditionally relied on its wireless carrier partners to push Blackberrys, either to business customers or consumers. But without a 3G connection, there really isn’t any motivation for the carriers to sell the Playbook.
Will RIMM try its hand at the direct retail business? More likely, it will rely on a retail partner like Best Buy (BBY).
Research in Motion shares were recently up 1.2% to $48.95 in after-hours trading.