RIM’s ‘Blackpad’ looks to Crush the Competition with New OS

by Matt Klassen on August 20, 2010

What better way to crush Apple’s iPad than turning to the technology currently used in the US Army’s Crusher Tank? In a report released by Bloomberg yesterday, the latest news around Research in Motion (RIM) is that the company has ditched the Blackberry OS 6 for its new tablet offering, tentatively named the ‘Blackpad,’ in favour of something different.

Instead, the report states, RIM is turning to QNX Software Systems, a company RIM acquired for a cool $200 million back in April, to develop a completely new operating system for the Blackpad as it gets set to enter the market later this year. For its part, QNX specializes in infotainment technology used primarily in luxury automobiles like BMW and Porsche; with its technology also seeing diversified use in weapons systems, cardiac monitoring systems and nuclear energy plants across the continent.

But will harnessing the mighty power of the Crusher tank be enough to make the BlackPad a success? It really all depends on the technological focus of the device.

The choice for RIM is simple: Produce a business-oriented tablet device that provides its already vast base of enterprise users a simple and straightforward communications and business development platform and enjoy almost the same success but none of the hype of Apple’s iPad; or produce a consumer-oriented infotainment device that looks to do exactly what the iPad does and watch it crash and burn like the RIM’s Storm and Torch smartphones before it.

Despite the fact that the Waterloo-based company is keeping relatively tight-lipped about its whole tablet endeavour, for me the fact that the company is willing to break OS ties with its popular Blackberry devices means that at least it’s putting some thought into this project. But even with this unusual amount of foresight, if the recent tepid sales of the Torch have shown us anything, it’s that even when RIM tries to innovate, it just ends up producing a poor copy of what’s already on the market…and no one wants that.

Further, there has long been speculation that the BlackPad will be produced as a companion device for the Blackberry smartphone, as the tablet itself seems to have no direct 3G connectivity, with tethering being the only option (when WiFi is not available). Even with these newest reports it seems that these rumours persist, and that’s not good if RIM wants anyone, anywhere, to adopt the BlackPad as their go-to tablet device.

But enough with that, let’s get back to the OS for a second. Regardless of how the tablet performs I’m glad RIM is making this switch. While the company’s official line of reasoning seems to be that the Blackberry OS 6 comes with far too much antiquated legacy software code from older OS versions, the fact that RIM is willing to attempt to breathe new life into its devices by trying new things means that maybe, just maybe, this company is capable of true innovation.

However, with many tech pundits the world over already consigning the BlackPad to the nether regions of tech purgatory, perhaps even a revamped OS isn’t enough to change RIM’s fortunes.

Photo c/o TechCrunch

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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