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
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
BlackBerry App World pales in comparison to just about every other mobile
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.