RIMs Tablet Has to Hit Price, Feature Sweet Spot

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


5. Affordable 3G connectivity 

When Apple announced the iPad 3G, it became clear that the future of mobile productivity would rely upon always-on connectivity. Realizing that, RIM cannot afford to ditch 3G in its tablet. Current reports say that the company might opt against offering 3G, but that would be a mistake. Consumers and especially enterprise customers want to have access to the Web wherever they go. That can only be possible with the help of 3G. 

6. Tethering functionality 

RIM is one of the leaders in tethered connectivity. And the company could go a long way in improving its tablet's value proposition by making a tethering option available on its tablet. Admittedly, such an option would only be viable if the company offered 3G connectivity. But if it does, giving users the option to use the tablet's 3G connection to access the Web on other devices could be the feature RIM needs to attract customers. 

7. Some design quality 

RIM isn't all that proficient at designing good-looking hardware. In fact, a quick comparison between its smartphones and those of Apple's and Motorola's reveals that the company is somewhat lost when it comes to product design. But that can't be an excuse in the tablet space. A key component in tablet-buying decisions is design. If a tablet is good-looking, people will be more likely to buy it. If it's ugly, it won't attract many buyers. 

8. A workable touch screen 

RIM's BlackBerry Storm2 delivers one of the worst touch-screen experiences in the smartphone market. If RIM delivers a similar experience in its tablet, the chances of that device even coming close to competing with Apple's iPad are slim. Hopefully, RIM has realized that and will deliver a viable touch screen. But if it doesn't, and consumers don't feel that it's intuitive enough, it's hard to see why anyone would opt for a RIM tablet over the iPad. 

9. A precise vision 

RIM has had some trouble over the past few years deciding whether it's an enterprise-focused company or a consumer-focused firm. And it has tried to be both at different times. It can't commit the same mistake with its tablet. RIM needs to determine which market will suit its product best and stick with it. After all, that's how the company became so successful in the first place. 

10. An affordable price 

One of the most important factors in the success of a RIM tablet is its price. If the device is too expensive, RIM will lose customers. But if it's priced well for the value it offers, RIM could have a winner on its hands. Value means the difference between success and failure in the tablet market. The iPad's value justifies its price. The Dell Streak's value does not. It's up to RIM to be more Apple-like than Dell-like with its own tablet.


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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