RIM 'BlackPad' could be the tablet businesses need

RIM doesn't have the consumer clout of Apple, but it has credibility in business -- giving its tablet a possible advantage

Reports are circulating that RIM will officially unveil its tablet device at the 2010 BlackBerry Developer Conference in San Francisco next week. The RIM tablet would be entering a market currently dominated by the iPad and about to get much more crowded, but RIM has an advantage that neither Apple, nor most other tablet competitors have: business credibility.

Just as it did with the iPhone, Apple already proved the world wrong on the general concept of the tablet, as well as on the value of a tablet as a mobile computing device for business. Given the right platform, the tablet has a number of significant advantages over netbooks and notebooks, and is uniquely suited for a variety of tasks where larger PCs simply don't make sense.

The Apple iPad sold three million units in only 80 days, and until just recently Apple could not keep up with the demand. At the recent launch in China, crowds lined up for blocks to get the Apple tablet. Analysts predict that Apple could sell 28 million iPads in 2011 alone.

There is no denying that the iPad is a blockbuster hit, and it has even gained more traction among business users than some analysts and naysayers predicted. Despite Apple's focus on the consumer market, and some severe handicaps that hinder the effectiveness of the iPad as a business tool, many businesses and users have still adopted the tablet as a mobile computing platform.

RIM approaches the tablet market from the polar opposite perspective. Its BlackBerry smartphones are the de facto mobile communications platform for many businesses, but RIM has failed to capture much consumer interest in recent years. What it does have, though, is brand respect among business users and IT departments. Companies that are already invested in a RIM infrastructure are likely to give the BlackPad some serious consideration.

Based on the rumored specs of the RIM tablet, it will fit nicely among the competition. According to reports, the BlackPad will have a 7-inch display, and one or two cameras to enable video conferencing. It is expected to have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but no 3G capabilities, but will enable 3G data connections by tethering to a BlackBerry smartphone.

One wildcard for the tablet is the OS. While the BlackBerry 6 OS makes some sense, the RIM tablet is expected to run a new mobile OS designed by QNX. That could be brilliant, or a huge mistake. Since tablets don't run standard desktop applications, much of the value and functionality of the tablet is tied to the apps that are available for it. With a QNX mobile OS, the app environment and how the RIM tablet will integrate with the existing BlackBerry infrastructure are question marks.

A device that provides the features and benefits found in tablets like the iPad or the Galaxy Tab, but with the tools and infrastructure IT admins need to effectively deploy, maintain, and protect the devices remotely as they roam around the building or the world could be exactly the tablet that businesses are looking for.

And, by launching now RIM can get a head start before the Cisco Cius hits the street.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags tablet PCAppleresearch in motionapple ipadhardware systemstablet PCslaptopsOffice HardwareRIM BlackBerry

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?