Research in Motion struggles to keep up with competitors

RIM President and Co-Chief Executive Officer Mike Lazaridis announces the new BlackBerry PlayBook as he delivers a keynote address at the BlackberryDevCon 2010 in San Francisco, Calif.

Jeremy Hobson: Blackberry's tablet computer, the Playbook, goes on sale this morning. It's Research in Motion's attempt to break Apple's dominance of the tablet market. But the Playbook's been panned by most reviewers and analysts are expecting tepid sales.

From Silicon Valley Marketplace's Steve Henn reports.


Steve Henn: Research in Motion used to own the smartphone market. Its Blackberries were known as "crackberries" and addictive enough to tempt many spouses to want to break them.

But these days, RIM is in trouble. Its market share in the U.S. is collapsing.

Brian Blair: I think one of the biggest problems with Research in Motion is they have let their software stagnate relative to what we have seen other smartphone players do.

Brian Blair is a mobile analyst at Wedge Partners. He says on an iPhone or Android, you can explore the solar system, identify new music or pilot a drone. Blackberries don't do any of that. So when RIM created the Blackberry Playbook -- its new tablet -- it built in a new touchscreen operating system that executives hoped could compete.

Blair: I think this is their effort to catch up.

But there are problems. The Playbook doesn't have built-in email or a calendar unless it is synced with a Blackberry smartphone. And there aren't many apps. Blair say it needs to correct these issues quickly if Research In Motion is going to regain its footing.

In Silicon Valley, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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