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RIM CEO attacks Apple and the concept of apps

jim_balsillie_rim-blackberry-ceoAt the Web 2.0 Summit, one of Research in Motion’s CEOs (it has two) said that he doesn’t think apps are necessary or useful, and challenged the closed way Apple runs its App Store, reports the AFP.

“You don’t need an app for the Web,” said Jim Balsillie, co-CEO. “We believe that you can bring the mobile to the web. You don’t need to go through some kind of control point. That’s the core part of our message…It is really not about a set of proprietary rules or about appifying the Web. The Web needs a platform that allows you to use your existing Web content, not apps.”

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Balsillie emphasized his point by showing flash content that the iPhone and iPad cannot play because Apple CEO Steve Jobs doesn’t like the technology, stating that the era of smartphone apps would “pass real quick.” When asked what he’d say to Jobs if he met him face-to-face, Balsillie said he’d be surprised, simply saying “you showed up,” referring to Apple’s unwillingness to attend such events.

Tablets and NFC

Of course, the CEO used the swipes to push RIM’s new PlayBook, a tablet that mirror’s the design and feel of Apple’s iPad. The device will be priced at less than $500 when it hits U.S. shelves in the first few months of 2011.

When the subject of near-field communications was brought up, Balsillie said that RIM will definitely include the chips in its upcoming devices. “We’d be fools not to have NFC in a product in the near term, and we are not fools,” he said. Google CEO Eric Schmidt made a splash yesterday when he announced Google would include NFC chips in its devices and really push the technology. Wireless carriers jumped onboard with their own announcement later in the day. NFC allows customers to swipe their phone and use it as a credit card.

RIM’s BlackBerry brand has taken quite a hit in recent months, losing smartphone market share to both the iPhone and Google Android operating systems. It hopes products like the PlayBook and Torch keep it in the game.

Is he right? Do we really need an app for that? Or are applications mostly a bridge to the next phase of mobile, which will mostly be about the open web?

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RIM: Buy two PlayBooks, get one free

Research In Motion (RIM) is looking for more ways to shift those PlayBooks. The latest idea, announced by the Ontario-based company on Friday, is to give a free PlayBook to anyone that buys two. But the question is, who’s going to buy two? Of course, there'll be those asking another question: Who’s even going to buy one?
According to the ad on the BlackBerry website, the offer is aimed at business users, so RIM is banking on there being bosses out there who might be moved to equip company employees with its device. To further entice potential buyers, a BlackBerry leather sleeve, charging pod and HDMI cable will be offered for free with each tablet.
The latest initiative follows several others by RIM aimed at boosting sales of its poor-selling tablet. At the end of last month, a number of retailers knocked $200 off the device, bringing the cost of the entry level 16GB PlayBook down to $299.
However, it’s once again selling for $499. Also in September, news emerged that RIM was offering the tablet to employees of Canadian cell phone carrier and long-time business partner Rogers, discounted by as much as 50 percent.
The fact is, the PlayBook is struggling in a market where Apple’s iPad continues to dominate. During its first quarter of sales, RIM shipped 500,000 PlayBooks, but for the quarter ending in September, demand had already cooled markedly, with only 200,000 being shipped. Apple, by comparison, sold just over 11 million iPads during roughly the same time period.
When the PlayBook was launched in April, it came under fire for lacking a native email client and instant messaging app, as well as having a poorly stocked app store. This week it was announced that the release of a long-awaited OS update intended to fix some of these issues has been put off until next year.
RIM’s latest offering may grab the attention of some businesses, but with so many tablets coming on the market now, including Amazon’s highly-anticipated Kindle Fire, it’s hard to imagine the PlayBook ever taking off in a big way.
RIM’s offer runs until the end of December and can be purchased from a number of authorized resellers in the US and Canada (excluding Quebec).

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RIM slashes price of PlayBook for Rogers employees, sign of things to come?
Blackberry Playbook

Well, Research In Motion’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis did say this week that the company was looking at the possibility of offering rebates, various types of deals and, well, whatever it takes to shift some of those PlayBook tablets.
And now it looks as if some of those plans are being implemented. According to a BGR report on Friday, RIM is offering the PlayBook at a heavily discounted price to employees of Canadian cell phone carrier Rogers, a long-time partner of the consumer electronics company. Could it be that RIM executives are testing the water, with a possible substantial price cut for every Tom, Dick and Harry on the horizon?
The internal sale at Rogers started on Wednesday and will continue until December 1. Any Rogers employee wanting to take home a PlayBook tablet will be able to get a discount of up to a whopping 50 percent off the regular price.
So let’s take a closer look at the kind of deal workers at Rogers are being offered.
The 16GB model, which usually goes for $499.99 in Canada (about US$511), can be taken away for just $249. The 32GB version is being offered for $349 (instead of the usual $599.99), while the 64GB can be picked up for $399, down from $699.99.
The sale began a day before RIM released its latest quarterly report, the results of which were far below what the company had been hoping for. The poor figures were partly as a result of the PlayBook’s struggle to get a foothold in a tablet market dominated by Apple’s iPad. RIM only managed to ship 20,000 units in the last quarter, far fewer than had been predicted by the Ontario-based company.
Of course, RIM isn’t the only company battling with poor tablet sales. Hewlett-Packard ended production of its TouchPad device last month due to disappointing sales, Samsung is thought to have started poorly with its 7-inch Galaxy Tab, and on Thursday Sharp announced it was ending the production of two of its three Galapagos devices.
It’s not known how Rogers employees have responded to RIM’s offer, but if it proves popular there's a chance it could be pushed out to all consumers. That would certainly stir things up a bit in the increasingly competitive tablet market.

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RIM debuts 3 new BlackBerry touch phones to compete with the iPhone (pictures and specs)
rim debuts 3 new blackberry touch phones to compete with the iphone pictures and specs 7

In a series of press releases today, RIM has revealed more about its BlackBerry 7 OS and given us a good look at the first three phones that will run on the new operating system: the BlackBerry Bold 9900, the BlackBerry Torch 9810, and the BlackBerry Torch 9850. Yes, the names are so boring and difficult to remember that we're having trouble remembering which is which, but the phones are using a new interface modeled after RIM's BlackBerry Tablet OS, which RIM hopes will help it better compete with Apple's iPhone and Google's Android phones.
BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930
The Bold 9900 was unveiled back in May, but RIM has released some better images and more detailed specs on the device, which has a nice stainless steel frame. Following the traditional design of the Bold line, the 9900 has a 2.8-inch 640x480 (VGA) screen with a full QWERTY keyboard in tow. The device has a 1.2GHz processor, 8GB of onboard storage and a MicroSD card slot if you want more. The rear camera is 5MP (no front camera) and it can record 720p video. We also know from the unveiling that the phone will include a NFC chip, which means it could be used as a wireless credit card, assuming RIM has a plan to utilize this technology on a broad scale. The phone will support 3G on Sprint and AT&T. 

BlackBerry Torch 9810
Following the Torch, which came with BB OS6 last year, the Torch 9810 has a 3.2-inch "high resolution" touchscreen (no actual resolution is given), a 5MP rear camera with autofocus and "HD" video recording (no specifics given), and a vertical slide-out QWERTY keyboard. RIM has improved the processing speed of the new Torch, up from 600MHz to 1.2GHz, likely responding to complaints that the last one was rather sluggish. It doesn't appear that the new phone will have a front-facing camera, so all of you video chatting business executives may want to look elsewhere. 

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