BlackBerry and Microsoft planning their own iPad killers

Oct 14, 2010
Tech

Apple’s iPad “may very well be the fastest selling consumer electronic product of all time,” reports Yoni Heisler in NetworkWorld. In the first 80 days after its release, three million iPads were sold. “To put things in perspective, Apple sold about 3.27 million iPads during the third quarter of 2010, and estimates for the current […]

Apple’s iPad “may very well be the fastest selling consumer electronic product of all time,” reports Yoni Heisler in NetworkWorld.

In the first 80 days after its release, three million iPads were sold. “To put things in perspective, Apple sold about 3.27 million iPads during the third quarter of 2010, and estimates for the current quarter range from 3.8 million units on the low end to upwards of six million units,” said Heisler. “By way of comparison, DVD players, during the first quarter of their availability, only moved around 350,000 units. Further putting things into perspective, DVDs were out on the market for five years before their sales were comparable to where iPad sales are just a few months out.” The iPhone was an immediate hit, but Apple sold about one million units of the original iPhone during the first quarter it was available. “Clearly, there’s something alluring about the iPad that has consumers snatching them up at a ferocious pace,” Heisler said.

However, the competition, including Microsoft and BlackBerry, want a piece of the action.

Joshua Topolsky reported in Engadget on Research In Motion’s annual BlackBerry Developer Conference, September 27. There, CEO Mike Lazaridis announced the company’s new tablet — the PlayBook.

Topolsky said the tablet will use an OS created by the recently acquired QNX called the BlackBerry Tablet OS. Founder Dan Dodge said, “QNX is going to enable things that you have never seen before,” and added that the PlayBook would be “an incredible gaming platform for publishers and the players.”

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RIM also touted the PlayBook’s ability to handle Flash content via Flash 10.1, as well as Adobe AIR apps. Take that, Steve Jobs!

Topolsky said, “The new slate — which Lazaridis described as ‘the first professional tablet’ — will sport a seven-inch, 1024×600, capacitive multitouch display, a Cortex A9-based, dual-core 1GHz CPU (the company calls it the “fastest tablet ever”), 1GB of RAM, and a three megapixel front-facing camera along with a five megapixel rear lens (and yes, there will be video conferencing).“

He added that RIM didn’t specify a launch beyond “early 2011,” and, there was no mention of a retail price.

The Tech Trader blog in Barrons shined a little light on the situation, quoting Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar, who said glitches prevented RIM from getting the PlayBook ready for Christmas. In a research note, Kumar said the company’s new QNX Neutrino software platform “was not ready for prime time.” He also said that the Marvell (MRVL) Armada 610 application processor the company had planned to use was “bug ridden.” Kumar says the company has “jettisoned” Marvell from the PlayBook in favor of a processor from Texas Instruments.

Meanwhile, Microsoft plans to hit the market with its own tablet in time for holiday shoppers.

Carl Bagh reported in International Business Times: “Microsoft’s jump into the tablet market is an expected outcome of iPad’s dominance as it has started eating into the PC market. With Microsoft’s business model dependent on its sale of licenses, it is imperative that Microsoft has a gamut of devices running its OS.

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He noted that “Santa Ballmer,” aka Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking at the London School of Economics last week, announced that MSFT will be delivering its new version of tablets in time for Christmas: “You’ll see new slates with Windows on them. You’ll see them this Christmas,” he promised.

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