The growing adoption of iPads by financial services companies has unnerved RIM, the makers of Blackberry smartphones and traditionally the sector’s choice for mobile communications devices. For RIM to dominate the tablets market much the same way it has
the smartphone space, and after a disappointing 2011 launch of the first Blackberry Playbook, the next operating system for the tablet
needed to be good.
Following the release of the Blackberry Playbook OS 2.0 today, credit must go to RIM, as this new offering is more than good and a worthy contender to the iPad within financial institutions. RIM’s model for mobile application development is by far the most
understated. Supporting a wide array of languages and run-times, coupled with exceptional developer support, makes the Playbook the smart choice for developing internal banking software.
So why is OS 2.0 so good? Clearly RIM identified the problems of last year and addressed them directly. This is how they’ve succeeded.
At over £500 for the 64Gb version, RIM made it impossible to justify spending so much on a tablet that lacked an integrated email client. In a dramatic u-turn the cost has been halved, representing incredible value for money. RIM also addressed the lack
of features on the original Playbook, packing OS 2.0 with a fully integrated native email client with contact, calendar and communication aggregation.
What apps? RIM went with its own proprietary App World as the distribution platform then found itself with no user base and thus no willing developers to write lots of shiny new apps – much of the appeal of the iPad has been the success of its App store.
As a result, RIM has incorporated the Android runtime into OS 2.0 allowing Android apps to run on Playbook in a direct appeal to the consumer market. The enterprise appeal is layered in the Blackberry mobile fusion update and other applications such as Blackberry
Balance and Blackberry Bridge, providing unparalleled security and multi-tasking capabilities. This demonstrates a commitment to enterprise and an attraction to financial services companies that no other vendor can match.
RIM has learnt its lessons and with superior security levels to the iPad, it now has a fair shout of cementing the Playbook OS 2.0 in financial institutions as the tablet of choice. The real challenge is convincing consumers it is worth owning and as Apple
has proved, consumers are the best route to corporate uptake.