RIM hasn't been the speediest of companies in bringing a tablet to market. We waited months after the launch of the PlayBook to even see a working model, and in the UK we're still awaiting its retail launch.
But that's okay, says RIM's UK MD Stephen Bates. In an interview with TechRadar, he told us that the company is happy to take its time honing its tablet skills just as it did with its smartphones.
When asked how the company felt about the less-than-perfect reviews that the BlackBerry PlayBook has been getting pretty much across the board (we awarded it three stars in our TechRadar PlayBook review), Bates was adamant that it's all water off a duck's back.
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Is it though? Really?
He told us, "Um. We… we're ok. We know where we are. We're fully aware of the situation – we're very happy with progress, as expected."
He didn't sound all that happy but hey, who are we to argue. Instead, we asked whether he thought that people would grow to love the PlayBook as more functionality – like, you know, email – is added.
"The analogy with the smartphone market is very apt here in that this mobile computing market is still relatively new and relatively fresh," he said.
"If you look at the smartphone market we've just slowly steadily progressed. We think there'll be similarities to that in the mobile computing."
Time marches on
This comes from the company whose first "smartphones" didn't even make calls – RIM is an old hand at incorporating key functionality a little bit after the fact.
"We think at the end of the day this is a marathon not a sprint, and for us this is the first execution of a mobile computing platform.
"We've made some choices around our prioritisation around some of the capabilities we're bringing to market, but we're very excited by what we know the potential is with this, and the prospects into the future are really very exciting," concluded Bates.
You might think this sounds familiar. Where have we heard all this before? Nokia, that's where. Nokia and Microsoft are playing the long tablet game, taking their sweet time in bringing slates to market – at least RIM actually has a tablet good to go.
But with Apple knocking tablets out of the park like clockwork every spring, is the long game really what's going to win the tablet arms race?