PlayBook to focus initially on the enterprise market

By on December 20, 2010
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Says Khaled Kafel- GM of BlackBerry Middle East in our interview

How is RIM positioning the BlackBerry PlayBook – is it more of a corporate device or is it more of a consumer device?

As you know the tablet category segment is something that is expected to expand tremendously. As the current trend in the market shows, we are going to see (some) users shift from a laptop to a tablet. So the single biggest challenge in the enterprise market is going to be ‘How do you implement a policy framework and integrate that into your corporate policy framework’.

There is a tremendous need for IT departments and CIOs to have an existing infrastructure and leverage it and be able to fulfill the demand of users that are going to convert into tablet computing. With Blackberry positioned in over 250,000 enterprises globally, out of the box, we fit right into that particular strategy where (these enterprises) have policies for smartphones and they can just put the PlayBook in their environment and it will automatically be locked with (their) corporate policies.

Let me give you an example with laptops (in enterprises)- the corporate policy will need to lock it down by only allowing authorized software on it that is licensed, prevent malware and viruses from attacking, and lock it down with password and content protection. That exists in the IT world- in the PC world and in the Mac world. In the smartphone world that exists in organizations that deploy the BlackBerry infrastructure where they can lock down their smartphones and implement policies to lock it down for content protection, for applications and for everything that is within their own policies. Tablets fit right into their environment and we believe that we do have a very good position in the market and in the enterprise as well.

Now having said so, it obviously has all the features that a consumer would want. It has media applications, it has Blackberry Messenger on it, HTML 5 browsing, support for Adobe Flash 10.1 – so the end user experience will be incredible. So, it will basically be for both business users and consumers but obviously our proposition in the market is going to be focused initially on the integration with the enterprise market.

Since you already have the PlayBook OS, the QNX, integrated with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Messenger, will we see it on the next BlackBerry smartphone?

It’s really early to talk about it- where QNX is actually going to fit in. I can see that happening, but we just came out with the sixth generation of the Blackberry platform, so our focus is on that. It’s too early to talk about this right now.

When can we expect App World in the region?

We are working aggressively to get it out. Jim (Balsillie) talked about it saying it would be out by the end of this year and we are working hard to get it out within that timeline but it really depends on some of the constrains- we are very, very committed to getting it out.

At the presentation today I noticed you were talking about SuperApps and Skype was on there as well. Is Skype going to be available to all Blackberry users?

As far as I know, in our market, we haven’t made any announcement about Skype. What we need to think about are the strategies in every single market we enter are tied to our partnerships with the operators. So, it is essential for us that we continue working in this partnership whether or not one or two specific applications come out in that region.


Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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