Should RIM focus on the tablet market?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| January 12, 2012

There’s only so much rooting one man can do. There’s only so much hope that one person, or even a legion of people, can put behind a certain product before that one person, or that legion, just has to accept the truth: that there’s just no coming back. There are plenty of people out there who are rooting in RIM’s corner, even if some of them are doing it quietly. There are even more out there who would love to toss out ideas, all in hopes that Research In Motion doesn’t go anywhere. Because, while you may not be a fan of BlackBerry or their OS, no one wants all those people to go wayward.

So if rooting for the underdog doesn’t cut it, and closing our eyes and hoping beyond all hope just isn’t good enough, what else is there? If the options of outsourcing the BlackBerry name, whether it is hardware or software, don’t cut it, and RIM doesn’t want to approach Android as a likely platform for every day usage, what else is there? Maybe, just maybe, Research In Motion shouldn’t necessarily be focusing entirely on the smartphone platform.

We know that RIM still wants their smartphones to rule the RIM way come the end of this year, but that’s a long time from now. Between now and then, we’ve got a plethora of new Android phones coming down the pipe (even if all the manufacturers out there are “slowing down”), and then we’ve got that new iPhone at some point, more than likely. That is a lot of devices, or one device, that can definitely draw the attention of the main consumer out there while RIM tries to figure out what they want to show off.

So, as I said, maybe RIM shouldn’t be focusing all of their attention on the smartphone platform. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company did their best to show off what the next version of their BlackBerry Tablet OS will look like, with integrated email and other applications that are currently missing from the device in its first version form. And maybe, just maybe, RIM is on to something here. What if the company just went 100 and 10 percent into the tablet game? Some folks might argue that the tablet market is just as crowded as the phone market, and that’s probably true. Well, it is true, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for a manufacturer to toss in their hat. Because, well, manufacturers are still tossing in their hats over and over again.

And, I’ll admit it; RIM’s BlackBerry Tablet OS is definitely worth the attention. If Research In Motion really wanted to, and they put the effort into it, they could make their tablet actually stand out. Yes, BlackBerry Tablet OS can certainly stand out against Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, but it needs different hardware. The BlackBerry name does not need to go the way of the Pre and webOS. RIM has the tenacity and determination to make BlackBerry stand out, to survive, but maybe they need to effectively abandon the smartphone market. Because, let’s face it, the smartphone market is abandoning them.

This may just be another option like all of the other ones before it, but I’m really trying here. I really want RIM to start negotiating their position within this devastatingly powerful market, because I’m afraid that they’re moving too slowly to stay in the race, and they’ve got their blinders on so tightly that they can’t see what’s going on past the walls of Waterloo.

Here’s hoping that hoping still works.

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