RIM: A Busy Prelude to the Launch

The company that brought us the fashionable BlackBerry Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM), has launched its PlayBook Tablet, but it will only be widely available in the first quarter of 2011. The company has caused a stir within the corporate community and online forums for two very different reasons in the months leading up to the tablet’s release.

Recently RIM began a “war of words” with Apple, publicly claiming that the iPad is a “rubbish concept”. In a bold move they launched an online video in which the shortcomings of the iPad are pronounced. The video methodically portrays the PlayBook as better than the iPad in every way. It’s 3 minutes and 16 seconds long, and demonstrates how its browser and features are far superior to its opponent’s. The video shows the PlayBook browser beating the iPad’s speed when opening a web page.

Viewers can see RIM’s tablet browser opening up faster than iPad’s. The PlayBook also promises to provide healthier content with their Adobe Flash support. The video also demonstrates how boring the iPad’s downloaded content looks in comparison to the PlayBook content, which looks more exciting and richer.

Aside from its guerrilla tactics to ensure the online community is aware of the superiority of its product, RIM’s PlayBook has also caused a stir in the business world. Many companies are already planning on testing the device, and are thinking of ways to deploy the PlayBook. The vice president of Employee Technology and Network Services at TD Bank Financial Group, Dave Codack, has already managed to get his hands on one of the units and expects to get some demo units in December.

Those at TD who are candidates for the Playbook include executives, knowledge workers who use basic productivity applications like Microsoft Word, mortgage specialists who deal directly with clients and contact-centre employees who use basic applications to provide services to customers.

Codack commented that if the PlayBook can serve as a replacement to laptops, TD may end up providing the device to as many as 10-15% of its 75 000 employees. If the device cannot replace laptops he said it will have a “minimal footprint”.

In RIM’s 26-year history, the PlayBook is the most important product launched. The firm is facing fierce competition in the form of Apple Inc.’s iPhone juggernaut and a number of devices running on Google Inc.’s Android operating system. But RIM is fighting back with the recent release of a new BlackBerry operating system and the unveiling of the PlayBook in September. With their newly acquired guerrilla marketing tactics, they’ll be a fine phone company to beat.