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RIM CEO offers unintelligible look at BlackBerry OS, PlayBook future

Daniel Eran Dilger

In an interview at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference, Mike Lazaridis co-CEO of Research In Motion, offered an astonishingly nonsensical set of answers about the future of the BlackBerry OS and RIM’s upcoming PlayBook tablet.
According to a live blog of the interview posted by Peter Kafka of MediaMemo, Lazaridis appeared on stage with a prototype PlayBook in hand. Engadget also reported its own version of the conversation, frequently noting that Lazaridis’ comments didn’t make any sense or were impossible to follow.

Lazaridis quickly switched between apps and video playback on the prototype tablet, saying “This is the way we like to work… it’s as easy as just sliding between the apps that you have loaded.”

Asked why the PlayBook was designed to be 7 inches, Lazaridis replied, “it’s just the perfect size,” before also acknowledging, “we have plans for different sizes.”

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs recently remarked that his company’s engineers had determined that the iPad’s 9.7 inch screen was essentially the minimum needed to deliver sophisticated apps sufficiently differentiated from smartphones, and said competitors would be forced to use 7 inch screens because they couldn’t match Apple in price using full size screens comparable to the iPad.

Lots of APIs for the PlayBook

The PlayBook uses the QNX microkernel RIM acquired in April (!), paired with a user interface built using web standards such as JavaScript. RIM earlier demonstrated the PlayBook running Adobe AIR, suggesting that apps could also be built using Flash and ActionScript. Lazaridis also indicated it would “run POSIX natively.” POSIX is the API specification for Unix environments. Describing the platforms and languages the new tablet plans to support, Lazaridis remarked, “This is a complete mobile computing platform.”

In contrast, Apple purposely limited the development APIs available on the iPhone, making it only possible to deliver apps using either Cocoa Touch or HTML within the browser. The iOS does not support building apps using native POSIX APIs in the BSD kernel, nor from third party middleware platforms such as AIR, Flash, Java, or Silverlight.

That has done nothing to prevent developers from enthusiastically supporting the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, because the App Store supports native development with a sustainable business model. Other mobile platforms offer a variety of APIs, but have not attracted much development. The BlackBerry OS uses standard Java, but it has not developed an application base anywhere near that of Apple’s iOS.

The PlayBook’s release is “tracking first quarter” of 2011, Lazaridis said, before evading a series of questions from interviewers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher about the unclear future of RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones and the completely new architecture of the PlayBook.

RIM’s version of Gil Amelio

After Mossberg asked whether the PlayBook “is not using the BlackBerry OS at all,” Lazaridis answered, “no, though we’re using JavaScript, so you can write apps using web tools.” The existing BlackBerry OS 6 is a proprietary kernel hosting a Java app environment; QNX, while capable of hosting POSIX, web standards, and apparently Flash and AIR, is not expected to host a Java compatibility environment for existing BlackBerry OS apps, any more than Windows Phone 7 sees any need to run old Windows Mobile apps.

This essentially puts RIM in the position of Apple back in 1997, when its Classic Mac OS user base and developers were long overdue for a modern OS, and yet the new portfolio of OS technologies it had just acquired from NeXT were both not quite ready and too new and different for its existing users to quickly migrate toward. The case for waiting around to see if Apple could deliver, given its faltering position in the market at the time, was particularly difficult to defend given the momentum of Microsoft at the time.

Lazaridis’ answers to questions about how soon the new QNX-based PlayBook OS would make it down into BlackBerry smartphones also sounded a lot like Apple’s very confident but somewhat confused-sounding former chief executive Gil Amelio.

Lazaridis is perhaps best known his breathtaking comments this spring, which dismissed the importance of touchscreen phones, saying that while it’s important to give customers what they want, touch-only phones like the iPhone aren’t that popular. Lazaridis claimed that most of the people buying touchscreen phones were going back to phones with hardware QWERTY keyboards, like those that made RIM ‘famous.’

What’s the future of BlackBerry OS?

RIM has previously indicated that the OS being developed for the PlayBook would indeed become the basis for future BlackBerry smartphones. But when asked by Mossberg when this would happen, Lazaridis answered, “We’ve been seeing the future as a true mobile computing world. But we were always constrained by the tech. By the CPUs, power consumption. We worked within those limits to provide a great experience. It’s made us the largest company in Canada.”

That answer suggests that RIM’s new QNX-based OS draws too much power to be used in today’s smartphones. When pressed further by Mossberg, who asked, “But look, there’s a growing consensus that your [existing smartphone BlackBerry] OS is dated. When will this [new QNX-based PlayBook software] become the new OS?” Lazaridis replied, “By focusing on the tablet market, we see it as a way of freeing where smartphones can go.”

Asked by Swisher, “So the tablet is the phone?” Lazaridis answered, “No, the tablet is what mobile computing is all about. In cases where we want a high performance smartphone, the tablet is perfect for it. A lot of markets are still on 2G. Even in 3G markets, BlackBerry is in its own space and becomes very popular. What the PlayBook allows us to do is jump into the next stage of mobile. In the US the PlayBook is perfectly targeted.”

“I’m a little confused,” Mossberg said. “You said it will free the smartphone to focus on communication. You mean it will free you to not pay as much attention to apps and video and music on the phone?”

“What I’m saying is that with BackBerry 6 it’s a great multimedia platform. But the difference is, rather than being all things to all people, we can present the best platform for the application. Full web, real multitasking… very few people can do it properly. The point here is in that environment, you can use it differently. But a 7 inch screen is too big to be a phone.”

“So you’re saying that the strategy of Google and Apple — making the phone with video and audio, that’s not the right direction?” asked Swisher.

“We’re going to see different categories,” Lazaridis replied. “You’re going to see smartphones taking on multicore processing, you’re going to see powerful tablets…” at which point Mossberg asked, “You’re going to keep moving the platform forward on phones?”

“When we have multicore processing on phones, we’ll be using the PlayBook platform,” Lazaridis answered. “BlackBerry is a huge brand around the world, and we focused on our strategy for the next decade. It’s a multicore strategy.”

RIM waiting for multicore CPUs before upgrade its OS

“You don’t think Apple will have multicore CPUs?” Mossberg asked.

“Our competitors have taken a smartphone operating system and they’re trying to take it to a tablet computer,” Lazaridis answered. “We’re starting with a powerful OS and platform, as we get lower cost multicore environments coming, we’ll be able to provide the highest performance, the best reliability.”

Performance is, however, not an issue that existing iPad buyers have been complaining about. Further, it took Apple nearly six years to migrate its Mac platform to the new Mac OS X, despite its new core OS not being constrained by any need for a future generation of processor technology in order to perform adequately. That makes Lazaridis’ inability to indicate when RIM will be able to overhaul its long in the tooth BlackBerry OS a serious problem.

Asked later when the the PlayBook software would make it into RIM’s smartphones, Lazaridis repeated, “as soon as I have dual core baseband CPUs.”

The future of RIM is Adobe Flash

Asked by Swisher, “How do you rank Palm, Apple, Google?” Lazaridis answered. “I’m biased. The PlayBook platform is the most advanced in the world right now. What I find weird is that we’re all using [Adobe] Flash on our PCs, on our Macs — why wouldn’t we expect to see it on our tablets?”

“So that’s a differentiator,” Mossberg said. “But they’re selling those Flashless devices anyway,” an allusion to Apple’s iPad, and by extension all of the smartphones that don’t support Flash, which includes most of the world’s smartphones (apart from ten newer Android models), including existing BlackBerry models.

“But it’s really early,” Lazaridis said. Asked about the price of the PlayBook, Lazaridis only said it would be “very competitive.” Lazaridis did not make any suggestion that the PlayBook’s rumored prices, undercutting the larger iPad with a 7 inch 8GB model and matching it with a 7 inch 16GB version, were legitimate.

Why are you demoting my phone?

During a question and answer session, Lance Ulanoff of PC Magazine asked, “So I own a Torch, but it’s slow and has a low res screen. I’m confused, you’re creating a false dichotomy between the PlayBook and the smartphone. I don’t understand that. How can you deliver this phone without the best hardware available today? You seem to be looking to the tablet for that. But this is a tiny tablet. What is the strategy? Why are you demoting my phone?”

Lazaridis answered, “First of all, the Torch was designed to be a launch vehicle for BlackBerry 6. That argument could be used in reverse. In a world where Half VGA was high performance, the world had moved on to 1GHz CPUs and higher res displays… when you see how quickly that phone moves around, just imagine the next generation.”

“I don’t see that performance,” Ulanoff replied. “I see the lag.”

“Here’s another way of looking at it,” Lazaridis said. “If it’s 1GHz now, it’ll be 2GHz next year… we’re bypassing the arms race and going straight to multicore. We’re going to lead the way in an environment where we can scale properly without burning up the battery.”

Lazaridis did not explain how iOS devices, ranging from 3 year old iPhones to today’s iPad, have been able to perform adequately while leading other mobile devices in battery lifespan even without incorporating the multiple-core CPUs of the future that RIM finds essential to back-porting its tablet OS into its smartphone line.


1 rizzior { 12.08.10 at 2:05 am }

“What a Moron”

2 MobileGeorge { 12.08.10 at 3:07 am }

His comments make more sense if you consider the context in which he views the world.

A few years ago, before BlackBerry offered Wi-Fi support (and while it was still shipping mostly 2G network devices) and before it had WebKit, Lazaridis was telling the world that the iPhone had it all wrong. He claimed that smartphones should not be considered as mobile, connected computing devices because the carrier networks could not support the bandwidth requirements of browsing the Internet.

He went on to tout the BlackBerry’s advantages of using RIM’s BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) and BIS (BlackBerry Internet Server) for all of its data connections because of the BES/BIS data compression features. (Sorry, I wish I could find the link to these quotes from that interview, but I’ve not been able to yet.)

And I remember wondering at the time if this guy has ever heard of Wi-Fi. Doesn’t he realize that all data connections for a smartphone do not need to go through a cellular network and do not need to go through RIM servers? I believe at the time, RIM only offered one Wi-Fi capable device and it wasn’t very good because it required every app to explicitly request and setup a Wi-Fi connection within the OS (instead of the OS doing this automatically like in iOS). So, if apps were not coded to request specific Wi-Fi connections (and most were not), Wi-Fi wasn’t really an option for most BlackBerry users.

So, if Lazaridis still holds the view that the BlackBerry smartphone is nothing more than a mobile terminal to its BES/BIS server messaging system, then he’s viewing the tablet as a breakthrough mobile device that offers complete access to the open web. When he says that this device can “free where smartphones can go,” he’s probably referring to getting away from the BES/BIS-connected model that they’ve been clinging to for all of these years.

In other words, when he talks about BlackBerry OS, he’s thinking BES/BIS connected device. When he talks about PlayBook OS, he’s thinking open web without BES/BIS.

So, when someone asks him if PlayBook OS will ever come to BlackBerry, his mind is probably reverting back to the benefits that he used to tout about that BES/BIS system and how firmly engrained that connection is in what he believes a BlackBerry/smartphone to be, that he starts talking within the context of network technology limitations again… and is probably thinking that once RIM figures out all of this open web stuff with the PlayBook (and Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks), that it’ll probably change what a BlackBerry is.

3 broadbean { 12.08.10 at 3:13 am }

Don’t knock the interview – funniest thing I’ve read in tech for a long, long time. In the context of it coming from the co-CEO, even funnier that reading stuff from “pundits”!

4 wings { 12.08.10 at 3:14 am }

Actually Dan, what happened was that you connected to 2 live blogs at the same time. The questions from one overlapped the answers from the other unrelated blog. That’s why his answers made no sense.

5 t0m { 12.08.10 at 3:56 am }

Just look at D7 with Lazaridis. He was evading comparisons to the iPhone, Android, Nokia then. Maybe he’s a few months away from his Kallasvuo moment (ex-CEO of Nokia).

Parsing what he says:
We’re like HP with Palm WebOS, or Microsoft back in 2009 with WM6.5 launching – the current OS (WM6.5/BB6.0) won’t be compatible with where the OS is going (WP7/BB on QNX).

Oh, and by the way, either QNX as an OS needs dual-core to run, or we’re using that as an excuse for a 2011 timeframe.

6 Maniac { 12.08.10 at 4:30 am }

Wow. Lazaridis is even more of a stay-on-message robot than Ballmer. It’s as though he rehearsed answers full of RIM buzzwords and specific optimistic phrases, then regurgitated those answers regardless of the question. Hoping he would be quoted out of context or something.

Mossberg asks if and when the RIM version of QNX will make it into BlackBerry smartphones. The response starts with “We’ve been seeing the future as a true mobile computing world… ” and ends with “…It’s made us the largest company in Canada.” Unbelievable.

7 deemery { 12.08.10 at 5:26 am }

Two points, one significantly technical:

1. The POSIX standards have a rich and authoritative conformance model. MacOS X -finally- achieved POSIX conformance after years of back-and-forth. POSIX contains standardized profiles that identify -subsets- of the functions. The appropriate term is ‘conformance’. To what POSIX standard/standardized profile will BB’s QNX conform? (The term ‘compliance’ is NOT defined by the standard, and is normally used by marketing people when they can’t meet the conformance rules of the standard.) If you conform to a subset profile, that supports app portability to those apps that can live within that profile. This is NOT the same as the full POSIX conformance that has allowed the community to move apps between Linux, various flavors of Unix and Mac OS X.

2. Even Ballmer at his worst is more informed and articulate than this moron.

8 Mark Hernandez { 12.08.10 at 6:48 am }

You guys (all logging in anonymously and not using your real names) need to cool it with the name-calling and being overly dismissive. Read Julie Zhuo’s NY Times article “Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt.”

Anyway, we’ve all heard how dogs are a reflection of their masters. And in the mobile industry we have quite a diversity. Apple is laser focused, consistent, simple, clear, concise, human-oriented (Jobs). Google is all over the map (Brin, Page, Schmidt, Rubin), Microsoft’s mobile effort doesn’t seem to be a reflection of Ballmer with Xbox and WP7 products run by groups that are very different from Ballmer’s personality. Palm is still in hiding, Nokia is going through big changes. And RIM is even harder to understand, especially after this interview with Lazaridis.

When leaders speak, both the customers and current and potential developers are hanging on every word, so it’s absolutely essential to communicate in a way that both informs and inspires, and at every opportunity.

It’s certainly not helpful when leaders sound like politicians, as in the case here with Lazaridis and with Adobe’s Narayen. It doesn’t go unnoticed when statements are made which do not match reality, and all the smart people in the room realize it instantly and look at each other with a collective “What?” (and then go write about it).

It seems that this opportunity was mishandled by Lazaridis and was an opportunity lost. When developers in particular listened to this interview, what do you think their takeaway was?

The question we’re left with is whether Lazaridis actually represents the leadership of where RIM’s mobile strategy is going.

There are certainly smart people behind the scenes at RIM making the hard decisions and, while I absolutely do not know who is really pulling the strings at RIM, I think we all hope that it’s not Lazaridis. Nah.

Hopefully it’s a smart team led by a good sub-leader, as in the case of Wp7 and Android, and the CEOs are just mouthpieces like Lazaridis and Ballmer who aren’t the greatest of communicators (even though if they are going to speak, they need to step up to the plate and learn how no matter what it takes).

I hope that someone at RIM understands that “being confused and all over the map” is not a good thing in any way, and it’s something that needs to be cleared up quickly, and faster than the time it takes for your followers to drop you and move elsewhere.

(For that matter, I don’t think Swisher and Mossberg are the greatest of interviewers. They are often under-informed and interrupt too much. Charlie Rose is an example of an excellent interviewer who respects the guest and pulls useful and interesting things out of the them. That’s the purpose of the interview, not to challenge, confuse, interrupt and truncate, and in stereo.)

9 lmasanti { 12.08.10 at 7:46 am }

“Apple chief executive Steve Jobs recently remarked that his company’s engineers had determined that the iPad’s 9.7 inch screen was essentially the minimum needed to deliver sophisticated apps sufficiently differentiated from smartphones, and said competitors would be forced to use 7 inch screens because they couldn’t match Apple in price using full size screens comparable to the iPad.”

As far as I remember, he cited that after presenting the iPhone in January 2007, Alan Kay (of Dynabook and Katmandu fame) told him: “Make it 10″ and you have a winner!” Three years after, Kay probed correct.
(Of course, engineers did their job also.)

10 kerryb { 12.08.10 at 7:53 am }

I sat here reading this article squirming in my seat I can only imagine how watching Mr. Lazaridis dodging questions and giving answers that he really doesn’t believe himself must have made for one big “awkward” time.

“But it’s really early,” Lazaridis said. Oh the irony of that statement, yes it is still early in the tablet wars but I know one Canadian company that is too late to battle to make much difference now.

11 marv08 { 12.08.10 at 8:07 am }

Hm, Mark Hernandez, while Mossberg and Swisher may not be the greatest interviewers… we heard a truckload of interesting and revealing statements today:
- RIM lives in a constant state of denial (if we close our eyes, nobody can see us lalala…)
- MS says they will improve WP7 by “ramping up the marketing” (big surprise) and refusing to even hint at any numbers
- HP/Rubinstein considers “we are not dead yet” the most enthusiastic statement he/they can come up with.

Any attempt to prove the things Daniel has been writing here to be true with less time and effort would certainly fail. Makes this good interviews in my book (which will never be a Playbook for sure). Putting people under a bit of pressure will always reveal more about them than allowing them to spin and babble. Unfortunately, “embedded” producers of the Court Circular are the norm right now.

12 kdaeseok { 12.08.10 at 9:02 am }

Playbook doesn’t interest me… but will wait until the final products come out.

13 Mark Hernandez { 12.08.10 at 10:25 am }

@marvo8 I agree with you. A better balance between constant, fast probing and stepping aside and letting the guest REALLY dig their own grave is good. he he

We all know that all too often a picture cannot be painted in single sentence responses. Sometimes a guest can seem incoherent because they don’t have a chance to use, say, five sentences to put things in perspective. Jon Stewart is someone who’s constantly interrupting his guests and interviews are often too short to be helpful, but we give him lots of latitude. :-)

I agree that I don’t think it would have made a difference here, but the AT&T guy needed to be given a little more time to reply because there is so much going on.

I was just at the AT&T store on Sunday buying two iPhones as gifts and telling the sales clerk I was amazed as to how far AT&T has come. Then the next day Consumer Reports says they’re the worst. What’s going on there?

The situation is complex, and people ALWAYS blame the carrier even when the phone, that big building or your moving metal vehicle is responsible for the dropped call. AT&T has a very strong data network (but over taxed largely because of the iPhone), roll over minutes, A-list minutes-free calling, and many other good things. I’ve never had a lick of trouble with them. Yet suddenly the meme is that they suck big time. The AT&T guy needed to be able to paint the picture and explain things in more detail. Was the “worst” rating a result of asking people who don’t understand technology, or tests performed by people who do?

Interviews like that need to be handled better.

14 Mr. Reeee { 12.08.10 at 1:36 pm }

Like Microsoft, RIM slept while playing king of the hill. RIM seems to be taking Microsoft’s spray an pray strategy as well. You’ve got to hit something, ANYthing, right?

If Lazaridis’ grasp of RIM’s “strategy” is any indication, RIM is in serious trouble.

It’s stunning how someone who is PAID millions of dollars per year to head a company can sound like a blithering idiot, yet still keep his job! Doubtless, he’ll be paid millions more to “spend more time with his family”. Sooner, rather than later for RIM’s sake.

15 gctwnl { 12.08.10 at 3:29 pm }

Lazaridis: “Our competitors have taken a smartphone operating system and they’re trying to take it to a tablet computer”

If I recall correctly, Jobs was shown a Pad-like apparatus first and then decided that it would be better to do the smartphone first.

RIM was an early NeXT-user (look in early next usenet posts and you’ll see RIM people including Lazaridis posting there). And now they offer a C++ interface to developers? C++? Really? That is so broken that I am completely stunned.

16 kilroywashere { 12.08.10 at 5:01 pm }

>In contrast, Apple purposely limited the development APIs
>available on
> the iPhone, making it only possible to deliver apps using either
> Cocoa Touch or HTML within the browser.

This statement is not correct. open() is a POSIX call and it is publicly documented for iOS use.



CocoaTouch is the API for doing user interfaces in Objective C on iOS. However, it is just one of many APIs that are publicly available for use on the iOS.
Here is a partial list of them…


[Thanks for your details. I tried to word that carefully enough to avoid criticism, but the point is that Apple created a single set of APIs to build iOS apps. There are not a variety of APIs available, each competing for attention. That can't really be said of the existing Mac OS (where you have Cocoa, Carbon, X11, Java VM, Flash, AIR, Silverlight, and so on) or Android (Native, Java/Dalvik, Flash, AIR) or the new PlayBook. In contrast, the old BlackBerry OS was pretty much straight JavaME, and the new WP7 is trying to standardize on Silverlight in imitation of Apple's streamlined OS strategy. - Dan]

17 jdb { 12.08.10 at 5:29 pm }

‘Lazaridis: “Our competitors have taken a smartphone operating system and they’re trying to take it to a tablet computer. We’re starting with a powerful OS and platform, as we get lower cost multicore environments coming, we’ll be able to provide the highest performance, the best reliability.”’

Yeah, that was the line that had me gasping. Is Lazardis that clueless on the origin of iOS? I doubt it. It seems like spin. They are going to try and claim that they have the only multicore capable OS as a marketing tactic.

I don’t see how anyone who knows what “multi-core” means is going to be fooled by that. The fact that iOS already has Grand Central APIs available shows how nonsensical that statement really is.

18 kilroywashere { 12.08.10 at 5:45 pm }

You are correct that that iOS doesn’t generally have multiple APIs that do the same thing, but there are multiple APIs….most of them not written by Apple itself. As a developer you have full access to the POSIX layer just as you would on MacOSX. However, there restrictions imposed on how the APis are used…such as where you can open files. There may be some core APIs that you are restricted from such as the dynamic loader and such given that you aren’t supposed to be loading plugins anyway.

Note that the javascript/hmtl environment in Webkit would also count as an API that isn’t CocoaTouch but that would compete with CocoaTouch.

To my knowledge, Apple lifted the restriction on 3rd party runtimes such as flash and CocoaSharp (Mono) so long as you don’t load new code after the app is installed. You are perfectly free to write apps to 3rd party APIs.

I think the extent of the point you can make is that Apple doesn’t support or encourage the use of alternative, 3rd party APIs and that it doesn’t allow 3rd party plugins in web browsers.

BTW: I’m not writing in to be critical. I’m writing in to correct inaccurate information.

19 kilroywashere { 12.08.10 at 5:51 pm }

BTW: I don’t really get the point behind the comment: “This is a complete mobile computing platform.”

iOS is a variant of MacOSX. the iPad OS was not scaled up from a mobile OS. It is a desktop/server OS that had unnecessary desktop/server components stripped from it to make it fit on a mobile platform. An iPod touch is basically a little macintosh with a touch interface on it rather than a mouse/keyboard interface.

This guy was blowing hot air with his presentation.

20 JohnWatkins { 12.08.10 at 8:25 pm }

Yup JDB & Kilroy,
RE: OS X -> iOS
My thoughts too. I simply did not remark on it because Lazaridis has said so many crazy things lately I have written him off as a know-nothing CEO.
Please note my “non-anonymous” user name, Mr. Hernandez (for what it’s worth.)

21 kilroywashere { 12.09.10 at 11:46 am }

Another thing that puzzles me on this topic is why this guy is so evasive over putting QNX on his phones. QNX is designed to be an embedded OS. It should easily run on current single-core smartphone hardware. Why does it need to wait until the phones are dual core?

22 marv08 { 12.09.10 at 12:00 pm }

@kilroywashere: QNX is lightweight when it runs in your espresso-maker, as it does not have to load a GUI, APIs etc. Using Adobe AIR (a runtime that needs to interpret e.g. Actionscript) instead of having an OS that consists of compiled binaries does destroy any potential benefit QNX brings to the table. We know all too well that Flash/AIR can drive a single CPU to 90-100% usage without doing anything useful. One core will be busy just keeping the OS responsive. Combining a RTOS with AIR is one of the weirdest decisions in the history of computing. Frankenstein would be proud.

23 beanie { 12.09.10 at 12:37 pm }

Daniel Eran Dilger wrote:
“QNX…is not expected to host a Java compatibility environment for existing BlackBerry OS apps”

Java and BlackBerry6 is in the list of supported platforms. RIM Playbook web page says it “Supports POSIX OS, SMP, Open GL, BlackBerry® 6, WebKit, Adobe Flash, Java® and Adobe Mobile AIR.” My guess is most developers would still want to use Java since Android uses Java syntax.

Multi-core embedded cpus should start showing up late-2010 or 2011. What is wrong with RIM waiting for multi-core cpus for smartphones? From what I read, QNX is a multi-core embedded OS.

24 gus2000 { 12.09.10 at 12:56 pm }

Finally, a CEO gets called “delusional” WITHOUT being Steve Jobs. :P

I think Lazaridis must have his Reality Distortion Field inverted.

25 kilroywashere { 12.09.10 at 2:39 pm }


Because there is no obvious technical reason for them to wait. Why do they need multiple cores to do what iPhone does today on single cores?

I think marv’s answer may be true. While QNX may be great as a core OS, they really don’t have a useful gui toolkit to offer. They have selected 3rd party libraries to be able to offer SOMETHING, but it isn’t a tightly integrated system like iPhone has.As a result, they may not be able to obtain the desired performance levels and they know they would get hammered in the tech press if they released a product that was deemed sluggish.

runtimes like Flash and Java may be easier for programmers to use, but the price you pay for ease of use is increased executable size and decreased performance.

26 kilroywashere { 12.09.10 at 2:41 pm }

sorry. last comment should have been addressed to beanie…not guys.

27 ChuckO { 12.10.10 at 5:49 am }

I just saw the demo with Mosspuppet and the 7 inch screen just looks too small. I don’t get why anyone would want it at the same price as a bigger iPad.

28 cy_starkman { 12.11.10 at 1:38 am }


Some have used their real names for a long time on the web. Until such time that our online ID’s are linked to us specifically and others cannot assign them without evidencing that they are actually us… well even using your real name is no proof you are being transparent.

One imagines there are many people with the name Mark Hernandez in the world, you are still concealed. Have a rare name, be the only person in an entire nation with your last name or the only person in the world with your first/last combination, then perhaps you might actually be approaching some kind of “i’m owning what i’m saying” status.

Otherwise it is perhaps no more than posturing to give your post strength.

29 Mark Hernandez { 12.11.10 at 4:36 pm }

You’re right, Cy, that I could be spoofing. But my comments stand on their own with their obvious logic and reason.

I don’t have to know someone’s real name here to read their comments and think to myself “Oh yeah, that’s true, I didn’t know that (or didn’t think of that).” I love this blog because I learn just as much from the commenters as I do from Daniel!

The point of “anonymity breeds contempt” is that when people get used to not representing themselves openly they slide down the slippery slope of , say, calling Lazaridis a “moron.” At worst, he’s just a guy that’s out of his element at those kind of appearances, running a company that got caught with its pants down.

If this commenting section ever gets out of control, like most of the rest of them already have, Daniel can always employ Disqus, or what Horace Dediu uses at asymco.com where commenters are authenticated to some degree. On Disqus, one is also motivated to work towards a good reputation, and I have my photo everywhere possible. My reputation as a good communicator with excellent critical thinking skills means a helluva lot to me.

Of course, there’s no silver bullet. But being reasonable, factual, considerate, and trying hard to learn how to discuss complex topics is incredibly powerful in and of itself. I know you agree with all that.

And it’s helpful when we point such things out because it helps keep things going in a better direction. That’s somethin’.

Mark Hernandez
The Information Workshop

Disqus: disqus.com/InformationWorkshop/
Twitter: @InfoWorkshop

30 Mark Hernandez { 12.12.10 at 6:23 am }

John Gruber just linked to this excellent overview of RIM’s situation for those of you who are curious and want to understand the details further.

It’s a post from October by Michael Mace. Very well written!


31 gctwnl { 12.12.10 at 2:06 pm }

The link points to a well written story. Especially the example about contacts on BlackBerry was telling (about the obvious dismal state of their OS).

32 Dorotea { 12.12.10 at 2:30 pm }

This is a comment section, not necessarily ment for deep debate. It may just be this is not an area for reasoned debate to the point that seems to be desired by some. I find it interesting to read some of the off the cuff comments. I bet others do as well.

33 gctwnl { 12.12.10 at 2:45 pm }

I had just decided not to make a comment off topic, but Dorothea and others: can we comment on contents and not on commenting? How interesting and all, it remains at least one level away from the topic at hand. By commenting on commenting (as I am doing now, sadly) you are actually doing that what you do not want: decrease the signal to noise ratio of this comments section.

34 Dorotea { 12.12.10 at 4:33 pm }

I’m snowed in, bored and some comments hit me wrong, so now I’ll be quiet.

35 lowededwookie { 12.12.10 at 7:29 pm }

What’s really interesting is that QNX is an incredibly rock solid system so the problem lies not there but with what RIM is trying to do.

Back in the day I had QNX running from a 3.5″ floppy disk on a 386 with less than 10MB RAM and once it loaded up (about 5 minutes) it actually screamed like a cut cat. It was running EVERYTHING fast than a Pentium with 256MB RAM running Win95.

It is so stable that at the time it was being used to run the control systems for nuclear power plants.

Therefore one can only conclude that the system resources that require the dual-core CPUs is actually RIM’s crap on top of the OS as opposed to the OS itself.

36 airmanchairman { 12.12.10 at 9:39 pm }

One of the smartest ways to drum up interest in a new act in the Pop Music world has always been to be as vague as possible, the intention being to create a “fog” around the band or artist, since journalists will want to know anything and everything about it beforehand.

Problem is, once they have all their questions answered, they get bored, drop all interest and head off on to the next new thing.

I suppose this is why the Apple secrecy and RDF works so well, keeping curiosity about all things Apple at a constant fever pitch.

My only possible defence of Lazaridis is that he’s creating a fog around their next strategy based around QNX to “keep ‘em guessing” and the “knock-off-Nigels” of the Android and white box cloner community as much in the dark as possible of RIM’s next steps, which are crucially vital to their future prospects.

37 MURFDASURF { 12.17.10 at 4:17 pm }

Sounds like *perfectly* delivered vapor-speak to me, what are you complaining about here?

38 AC88 { 02.10.11 at 9:45 am }

The most perplexing moment of the Dive into Mobile conversation was when ML demo’d–of all things–the calculator app on the device. He’s done this twice now. I could hardly believe it. It could only have been worse if he had pulled up an abacus.

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