SAN FRANCISCO--Research In Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis hopes the company's investment in its QNX software will carry the venerable smartphone company for the next decade.
Lazardis showed off the first fruits of that investment, the Playbook tablet, to attendees here at D: Dive Into Mobile today. RIM has taken the tablet--expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2011--for several test drives over the past few months but hoped to wow the Silicon Valley mobile elite with the QNX software on which it's betting the future of the company.
There's little doubt that RIM has lost a bit of respect along the Left Coast; although RIM is the largest tech company in Canada and a significant market share player around the world, as Lazaridis reminded hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher multiple times, it's seen as a laggard against what Apple and Google have done with the iOS and Android operating systems. The CEO didn't exactly refute that analysis but suggested that by designing an operating system with a tablet first and foremost in mind, it might actually be able to get the drop on its South Bay competitors.
Lazaridis also made some interesting comments regarding the application of the old "megahertz myth" from the PC wars to the smartphone market, declaring that smartphones are on the cusp of a similar transition in which fast single-core processors are simply too hot and too power-hungry for future mobile devices. His competitor, Google's Andy Rubin, showed off an unannounced tablet geared for dual-core mobile processors on the first day of the conference, and based on Lazaridis' comments RIM believes that such a transition is imminent in the mobile space.
"All these pieces are coming together to set up BlackBerry for next decade," Lazaridis said. It's not clear whether he convinced anyone that RIM should be back in the favor of the digerati, but left a clear impression that RIM isn't ceding any ground in the race to build a mobile stronghold.