Reporters' Roundtable: CNET experts not bullish on RIM

We gather three reporters who cover wireless, trying to find the future path for RIM. Does the security of its service make a difference? The new PlayBook tablet? A bit, but if there's a clear way out of the woods, we can't see it yet.

Research in Motion was once the company making smartphones. Business boys and girls carried BlackBerrys around as not just tools but status symbols as well. For all the device's personal appeal, RIM became successful by selling BlackBerrys and their support systems to corporations.

But the real smartphone revolution was driven by consumers. Though RIM did have some success selling smartphones to end users, consumers now buy iPhones and Android phones. Furthermore, RIM's grip on the enterprise has started to slip.

Meanwhile, its robust security architecture is actually landing it in trouble with many governments, who want backdoor access to the RIM infrastructure.

The company is trying new things. It's revising its aging BlackBerry operating system. It's releasing its own tablet, the PlayBook, with a new tablet OS. And its co-CEOs are trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to convince the world that the RIM system is both supersecure and government-friendly.

So what does the future of RIM look like? We're discussing that today with three CNET experts on the topic: tablets reviewer Donald Bell, mobile-phone editor Nicole Lee, and telecommunications reporter Maggie Reardon.

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Some of our discussion points

COMPANY
First, Maggie, how is RIM doing? You just interviewed Jim Balsillie . What's your sense of the company right now? Successes? Challenges that Balsillie admits RIM Is facing?

Where is the company strongest? Discuss relationships with businesses.

And with government...especially the "security issue." What is the issue that Rory Cellan-Jones spoke to co-CEO Mike Lazaridis about? (Related: Wall Street Journal interviews co-CEO Jim Balsilie.)

Let's talk about this new OS that RIM bought: QNX. What's so special about it?

TABLETS
Donald: The PlayBook. How good is it? (Review)

It's the third horse, right? Does it have a shot? Who's going to buy it?

Discuss app store. Also the PlayBook media store: Is there one?

What's unique about the QNX OS from the user perspective?

Talk about the upcoming 4G model--what's special? Discuss pairing with a BlackBerry. Is the PlayBook an independent product?

PHONES
Nicole, It's been months since RIM has released a new smartphone. Why? What's next? How do the products stack up?

How important is that physical KB? What do users want?

Let's talk about the BlackBerry App Store. How many apps? Good ones?

Wrap-up
Next show will be April 29. Follow me on Twitter for news on what's next on Reporters' Roundtable. E-mail roundtable@cnet.com with your ideas for shows! And, as always, don't forget to check out the site, reportersroundtable.cnet.com, for show notes, links, and talkback.

 

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