Could TAT be the savior RIM has been looking for?
It's widely believed that RIM with their BlackBerry's waning popularity is a dying breed. BlackBerry fans (myself included) still have hope for them as a company. Yes, even in the smartphone realm. They are veterans at making excellent hardware and delivering a superior mobile email solution, but their main problem is reluctance to change.
Even if they are beginning to adapt and make necessary changes, they missed the punch by a long shot. That doesn't mean they will dwindle away, but it does mean they still have some things to learn. New hope was established when the company announced their upcoming tablet which will be running a new Tablet OS powered by QNX software. This showed that their ability to adapt was intact, but they are still behind the curve. The Torch was a bit of a wash-up as it didn't do quite as well as RIM had hoped or expected, but BlackBerry 6 showed (ever-so-slight) progress and a foot in the right direction. It wasn't a complete overhaul, but it was a quick refresh to keep people's attention. It will be watching RIM resurrect themselves.
RIM has made some major changes over the past year, acquiring several companies to help them hone in on specific parts of the mobile experience. They acquired Torch Mobile to help develop a better web experience; Viigo, a heavily supported RSS feed application; DataViz for document editing software; Cellmania for app store software; and QNX for their real-time operating system. For a company that has been on a steep incline, they are making some big purchases and they've appeared sporadic until now.
The latest purchase on the bill for the mobile giant is that of The Astonishing Tribe, better known as TAT. I said about a week ago that it was hard for me to go back to using a BlackBerry for the time being, and there are a couple reasons, one being the less-intuitive interface and overall lagginess. Not to mention, I've been carrying BlackBerrys for nearly five years, it's time for a change, in more ways than one. Even after all of RIM's acquired companies and software, I remained unimpressed by their efforts. When I woke up yesterday morning to headlines saying RIM had acquired TAT, I was moved.
TAT is a company renowned for making the most beautiful and interesting UI concepts known to man. They have videos on YouTube that show off ideas and concepts a nerd dreams of at night and drools over at his work desk. RIM acquiring TAT stitched together all of the seemingly random purchases and acquisitions and formed a few hypotheses into concrete evidence that RIM is done playing around. All that is left is getting the QNX software ported to their handsets, releasing some fresh hardware designs, and getting TAT to do what they do best to the BlackBerry interface. Not only do they have their work cut out for them, time is of the essence. The mobile world is evolving, fast, and RIM has a lot of catching up to do