Plenty of RIM partners were at hand at BlackBerry World 2012 in Orlando, April 30 through May 2. Still, its very manageable Solutions Showcase was no blister maker.
Porsche Design offers an upscale option for BlackBerry users who want something a little different.
The Other Porsche
This QNX-software-running Porsche 911 features an on-dash PlayBook that enables a driver to interact with various BlackBerry solutions. According to RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, 95 percent of all car brands use QNX, which is now in 60 percent of all cars on the road.
Have SAP, Will Travel
The Porsche's PlayBook could, for example, enable a driver whose company uses SAP software to pull up important analytics on the go. The car can interface with a smartphone, or potentially reach out to a server itself.
A company called Charge Anywhere offers a mobile payment solution for the PlayBook.
Near-Field Communication (NFC)
For BlackBerry smartphones with near-field communication chips-and credit cards with NFC, an increasingly common thing-Charge Anywhere also offers a phone-based solution. Receipts can be emailed to a customer or printed on a Bluetooth-attached printer.
All Work and No Play ...
Conference-goers could stand in front of near-human-size BlackBerry with a functioning front camera to create a personalized BBM Avatar-the high-tech version of stick-your-face-in-the-hole plywood cutouts. Once photographed as a Canadian Mountie, or worse, a user could tap in his email address to have the image sent to him.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said RIM is absolutely still pursuing consumer customers. It's just being smarter about using partnerships to cover bases-such as gaming or mapping-that aren't "core" to RIM. A company called Incipio sells, among other things, a no-slip, wonderful-feeling PlayBook case for gamers.
The Chatham-Kent Police Service in Ontario owns two of the five police cruisers outfitted with a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet that's part of a custom solution produced by a company called Mobile Innovations. The constable who drives the car says it's the envy of the fleet, nicknamed the "PlayBook Cruiser."
PlayBook Cruiser Interior
The PlayBook is small and light enough that it fits in an officer's cargo pants pocket. It's used for everything from recording witness statements to looking up bad guys to reporting the condition of the car at the beginning of every shift. BlackBerry Balance software helps make the solution compliant with federal regulations.
Constable Koke shows off the sliding tray of electronics in his cruiser's trunk, which houses only what's necessary to run the lights and sirens. Were the car equipped with a rugged laptop instead of the PlayBook, said Koke, the tray would be a far different story.
High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI)
RIM shows off how a PlayBook might come in handy at home.
In a home office setup, RIM shows off how a Plantronics headset, wirelessly paired with a BlackBerry, could replace an office PBX.
A reminder that RIM still has millions of consumer customers.