RIM Needs to Rework Multitasking

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-06-15 Print this article Print


 5. Where are all the apps?

A tablet simply cannot be successful without a good selection of applications for users to choose from. In the mobile market, RIM is far behind when it comes to apps. In fact, its BlackBerry App World has a mere fraction of the applications available in Apple's App Store. And the chances of that changing anytime soon are slim. Unfortunately for RIM, its software just doesn't attract developers. And without some help from apps, it might be extremely difficult for its BlackBerry tablet to get off the ground, let alone be a success in the competitive space. Apps are the key to success in the tablet market. And right now, RIM is far behind.

6. The corporate market is untested

There is a possibility that RIM will attempt to create a tablet that doesn't compete directly with the iPad. Instead, the company could create a tablet that appeals to corporate users who need a mobile product but want to be able to have the same functionality they enjoy on a BlackBerry. Although that might be a smart idea, it's worth mentioning that the corporate market is largely untested when it comes to tablets. So far, consumers have been buying tablets, while enterprise customers have stuck with laptops or netbooks for their mobile-productivity needs. If RIM is targeting the enterprise, it should tread lightly.

7. Its Web browser is abysmal

A key success factor in the tablet market is having a solid browser. Right now, RIM's browser is one of the worst in the mobile market. Unless the company finds a way to drastically improve its browser, or partners with another company to bring a solid browser to its software, the BlackBerry tablet will be far behind the competition. Tablet customers want to be able to surf the Web and enjoy an experience like one they would have on their desktops. Apple's Safari browser delivers that. RIM's BlackBerry browser doesn't. And that's a problem.

8. The computer business is totally different

RIM might be a success in the smartphone market, but the computing space, and especially the tablet market, is much different. Not only is there more solid competition in the computing space, but customers expect different things from the devices they intend to buy. And since carriers don't necessarily govern the viability of a product, RIM's BlackBerry tablet will need to stand on its own against Apple's iPad, Dell's Streak and any other tablet that will eventually hit store shelves. Can RIM stand up to that challenge? It's certainly debatable.

9. The multitasking conundrum

Apple plans to offer multitasking in the iPad in the coming weeks. When that happens, the company's software will finally offer the functionality that consumers have been waiting for. Currently, BlackBerry OS offers multitasking, which puts it ahead of the iPad. But the problem with RIM's multitasking functionality is that it's not implemented well. To induce customers to buy a BlackBerry tablet, the company will need to do a better job of making it easy for users to switch between applications without losing their information. Apple has created a new interface to accommodate app management. RIM must work on something of its own. If it plans to release a tablet, it has no choice.

10. Customer perception is everything

One of the biggest issues a BlackBerry tablet will face, and arguably the biggest reason why it won't work, is that customers perceive RIM to be an enterprise-focused company. Yes, the company is starting to perform better in the consumer market, but when a tablet hits store shelves, it will need to find a way to reinvent itself. Consumers are looking for a tablet from a company that they know can deliver what they're looking for. When it comes to tablets, they don't want what they believe will be a corporate-focused device. Customer perception is everything in the tech industry. If RIM wants to be successful, it will need to do its part to change that perception. It has no other option.

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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