RIM says phones will still trump netbooks
Amid a wave of hype about wireless gadgets like netbook computers and mobile internet devices, Research In Motion’s Co-CEO Jim Balsillie says he will keep focused on the BlackBerry maker’s core business of phones even as computer makers are starting to make phones and phone rival Nokia eyes netbooks.
This means that Balsillie is focused on developing more new versions of each of BlackBerry phones: those shaped like candy-bars, with touch-screen controls and devices with mini-QWERTY keypads.
“Form factor is a personal preference but it’s got to be something that lasts the better part of the day and you can hold up to your ear and clip onto your belt,” he said in response to our question about his vision for future products. “Those are a very tight systems constraints for a netbook.”
And, if a phone’s dimensions seems too cramped for the increasingly sophisticated media, entertainment and business services offered, Balsillie said this:
“If you want richer keyboards and richer displays you can just use perphiperals and bluetooth.”
Bob Stutz an executive from business software supplier SAP, which delivers business applications to BlackBerry devices, was dismissive of the relevance of devices like netbooks for his clients.
“We’ve been down this route with these kinds of devices,” he said, referring to “iPaqs, fliptop notebooks and other specialist devices.”
“Why we are doing this with RIM today is because these (other) devices don’t work,” he said, noting that consumers want sturdy, inexpensive and well connected devices.
“Customers really have been down the gamut … They’ve been down this path. At the end of the day what we’ve really found is that if they can do it on a BlackBerry that’s what they’ll want.”