RIM Tablet vs. Apple iPad: 10 Features RIM Needs to Succeed

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-09-22 Print this article Print

News Analysis: RIM could be releasing a new tablet within a week. But for that device to be successful, it will need several specific features.

Rumors continue to circulate that Research In Motion will unveil a tablet perhaps before the end of September or early October. For now, details on the rumored tablet are scant, but the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the device will include a 7-inch display, WiFi connectivity and a new operating system that RIM has yet to unveil. There is no word on pricing or availability. 

At this point, the report is nothing more than a rumor. There also is both a chance that RIM won't announce a new tablet or that all the details the Wall Street Journal has published are wrong. Simply put, until RIM makes a stand one way or another, all the talk about what a RIM tablet might look like is pure speculation. 

But if RIM does, in fact, plan to introduce a tablet, there are some features the device must have. And there are things that RIM will need to keep out of its tablet if it is to compete with Apple's iPad, Samsung's Galaxy Tab and other competitors that are coming along. 

Read on to find out which features RIM should be adding to its tablet to make the device a success. 

1. Better software 

The last thing RIM should do is offer its BlackBerry OS 6 on the tablet. The software is an iterative update over BlackBerry OS 5 that in no way will captivate consumers looking for an iPad-like experience. RIM needs something new, and it must be something that will put it on an even playing field with Apple. BlackBerry OS 6 just isn't that solution. 

2. A big display 

Hopefully the reports claiming RIM will be offering a tablet with a 7-inch display are wrong. The iPad has shown that big displays matter. It might be difficult for RIM to sell consumers its model if they are able to compare the RIM tablet to an iPad sitting on another shelf. The first thing shoppers will notice is that Apple's product has a noticeably larger display. RIM must keep that in mind. 

3. Real enterprise integration 

The Cisco Cius, which will run Android OS, is scheduled to be available to corporate customers at the beginning of 2011. On paper, the device looks like a winner for the enterprise. RIM cannot afford to allow Cisco to beat it to the corporate world. The consumer space might be important, but RIM relies upon the enterprise to be successful. If it lets the Cius beat its own tablet in the corporate world, the chances of RIM succeeding in the tablet space will be much lower. 

4. A much better app store 

RIM's BlackBerry App World pales in comparison to just about every other mobile marketplace in the space. Currently, Apple's store, for example, has more than 250,000 applications. RIM's App World has a fraction of that. The applications that it does offer in no way match the offerings in competing markets. If RIM's tablet is to succeed, viable applications will need to accompany it. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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