At the beginning of 2011, RIM was doing fine. The company still started the year with a relatively high market share in the smartphone arena, even though Android and iOS were growing rapidly. Then the PlayBook struck. I say it like that because the original PlayBook will be remembered as a calamity to the company, a horrible mistake. It was a rushed premium product missing all of RIM’s specialty, high-end services. What did they expect?
But it’s a new year, with new opportunities for the company to redeem itself (possibly the final opportunities), which is likely why we’re hearing rumors of two new PlayBooks this year. The first will be another 7-incher and I’d expect it to have almost all the same hardware specs as its predecessor. However, the new model will pack a 3G radio which will make the tablet much more worthy of what I’m sure will be another high price tag out of RIM.
N4BB also reports that the company will release a 10-inch model at the end of 2012 with an LTE radio in tow. Both models will run the new version of BlackBerry PlayBook OS (2.0), which is set to be released in February.
The tablet segment won’t be where RIM makes its comeback. A lot is riding on the BB 10 OS, and RIM’s ability to adapt in the hardware arena. At the same time, the last PlayBook ended up being a huge loss for the company, both financially and in terms of mind share. Putting two solid tablet offerings into the market this year should gain back some credibility, but to rake in the dough the company will need to be smart about pricing.