BlackBerry maker promises LTE PlayBook, but needs developers

At the company’s annual conference, Research in Motion’s new chief executive said that plans are in place to release an LTE version of the BlackBerry PlayBook later this year.

According to a report from Canadian Reviewer, the new tablet will have a 1.5Ghz dual-core processor and will include a near-field communication chip. The slide pictured in the article also indicates that the new tablet will support HTML 5 and Adobe Flash.

The PlayBook has been a sore point for RIM since its launch in May 2011, when it debuted to lukewarm reviews and slow sales. An update in February added new features such as a native e-mail client and more ways for BlackBerry phones and the tablet to interact. It could also be a play to challenge Apple’s tablet hold on the enterprise market, which has traditionally been RIM’s bread-and-butter market.

The report didn’t say whether the new PlayBook will have the company’s new operating system, but it’s likely as RIM is hoping that its new BB10 platform can pull the company back from the brink. But what the company really needs are developers to build out the RIM app ecosystem.

Apps are the lifeblood of any mobile platform and, unfortunately, it’s hard to convince developers to come to alternate platforms when they know they will have a much better reach on iOS or Android.

What RIM has to do is figure out who it wants to target with its new phones — enterprise customers, or the larger consumer market — and aggressively build that app ecosystem.

RIM announced Monday that its developers will earn $10,000 in their first year on the app store, or the company will cut a check for the balance, Information Week reported. And the developers the company brought on stage during its conference included tried and true enterprise partners, The Post’s Joshua Topolsky noted, such as Salesforce and Cisco, as well as some gaming partners such as the makers of Galaxy on Fire.

That seems like the right mix to begin with, as it would be smart to concentrate on RIM’s existing core consumer and offer the best slate of business apps the company possibly can. The company can build out other areas later and expand its gaming, video and other apps once it stops losing market share in enterprise.

Alec Saunders, the company’s vice president of developer relations, indicated that is the company’s plan initially, telling CNET that while RIM know it’s important to have a good overall experience, “BlackBerry users are people who are hungry to get something done. They aren't the ones sitting on the train watching episodes of Seinfeld.”

More technology news from The Washington Post:

Joshua Topolsky: Can the BlackBerry retain its loyal following without a keyboard?

The Verge: First impressions of BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry remains official Washington’s smartphone even as its maker’s fortunes decline

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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