We're starting right now... and Mike has the playbook.
5:05PM And that's it for us from D! Thanks for reading!
5:05PM Kara: Mike, thanks so much.
5:05PM Q: I noticed that you recently acquired The Astonishing Tribe, I worked with them on the G1 -- what do you think it means for your user experience?
Mike: Well TAT is an amazing company. When we first met them it was obvious that they knew what they were doing and had a lot of experience. They had a really good fit with RIM. It's the ability to add 150 of the top developers to the BB family.
5:04PM Q: Huge consumer demand for smartphones. What is your sense of the Android and iPhone devices and their enterprise penetration? Google providing their platform to enterprise... is that a threat?
Mike: I see a thriving industry. If you went back in time when the auto industry was developing, you wouldn't have sat there and said one person will own the market. There are lots of car companies, and we're going to see that with smartphones. What I find exciting is that the market continues to grow. When you see how large it is, and then you see that it's got to transition to smartphones -- that's a great recipe to grow a business.
5:00PM Great question from Lance without a real answer from Mike.
4:59PM Mike: Here's another way of looking at it. 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.
4:58PM Q -- Lance Ulanoff from PC Magazine: 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?
Mike: First of all, the Torch was designed to be a launch vehicle for BB 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...
That answer also makes no sense.
Lance: I don't see that performance. I see the lag.
4:56PM Q: When is BB 6 rolling out to other high end devices?
A: This is the work of the last ten years -- bringing our OS into the next decade. It's the foundation of us going forward with the BlackBerry. We continue to improve the platform, we added the WebKit browser...
Mike didn't really answer.
4:54PM Question time!
4:54PM Mike: So here's the thing you don't realize. QNX already runs a lot of the world you don't see. The big Cisco routers -- trains all over Europe, in the Space Station -- it's all over the place. FDA certified hospital equipment... this is not something we just wrote. This is the foundation of the things you don't see. We've finally brought it out into the open. We're using the BB brand and pedigree... working with Adobe... that's what we're doing. This is a unique path for us. It's a huge market and we have a front row seat.
4:53PM Walt: Next year?
Mike: I'm not going to comment on our future.
4:52PM Walt: What is the price of the PlayBook?
Mike: It's going to be very competitive.
Walt: How soon will it get into a smartphone?
Mike: As soon as I have dual core baseband CPUs.
4:52PM Walt: So that's a differentiator. But they're selling those Flashless devices anyway.
Mike: But it's really early.
4:51PM Kara: How do you rank Palm, Apple, Google?
Mike: 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 Flash on our PCs, on our Macs -- why wouldn't we expect to see it on our tablets?
4:51PM Mike: Who would have predicted this would be the fastest growing market 5 years ago? We have a front row seat.
Walt: No one would have predicted Apple and Android.
4:50PM Kara: And that will happen with the PlayBook?
Mike: It's already happening. People want this product.
4:50PM Mike: We continue to build products that meet the requirements for enterprise and government.
Walt: Is that your market then?
Mike: I think we have a higher bar, and that appeals to the consumer.
4:49PM Mike seems very defensive. We suppose it's understandable, but he'd not answering a lot of questions straight on.
4:48PM Walt: So where is the PlayBook going?
Mike: We continue to focus on enterprise and security...
Walt: Then why do you run consumer facing ads?
Mike: I'm just answering where we see the PlayBook going.
4:47PM Mike: We built all our own stuff -- and you see it with the PlayBook, that's real time. Powerful graphics.
Mike begins listing protocols they use...
Walt: I don't know what any of that is.
Join the club Walt.
4:46PM Mike: We've made the right bets going through... we've had a lot of competitors how big this market is. I've been talking about how big it's going to be for 5 years at every shareholder meeting. We built a sizable business on this.
4:46PM Mike: We invented the smartphone. We never stopped innovating. We decided to go global. We targeted the network tech that was available.
Walt: Did you chain yourself to the lowest common denominator?
4:45PM Walt: So something has happened... or do you disagree?
Mike: I disagree with that.
Kara: Not in Sumatra...
Walt: In the US.
Mike: India has close to a 1b people.
4:44PM Kara: How do you take those RIM is dead stories?
Mike: We've been in this a long time. You know. I knew what we wanted early on, but we had to build it all from scratch.
Walt: And you earned a lot of success from it. But Kara is right -- there's a feeling that you've fallen behind.
Kara: In my own case, I no longer have a BlackBerry because it doesn't have the capabilities of the iPhone.
4:43PM Mike: BlackBerry is a huge brand around the world, and we focused on our strategy for the next decade. It's a multicore strategy...
Walt: You don't think Apple will have multicore CPUs...
Mike: 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 lowercost multicore environments coming, we'll be able to provide the highest performance, the best reliability...
4:41PM Walt: You're going to keep moving the platform forward on phones?
Mike: When we have multicore processing on phones, we'll be using the PlayBook platform.
4:40PM Kara: So you're saying that the strategy of Google and Apple -- making the phone with video and audio, that's not the right direction?
Mike: We're going to see different categories. You're going to see smartphones taking on multicore processing, you're going to see powerful tablets...
He isn't making any sense at all. Quite literally, we don't know what Mike is talking about right now.
4:39PM Mike: What I'm saying is that with BB 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 7inch screen is too big to be a phone.
4:38PM Mike: 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.
Walt: I'm a little confused. 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?
4:37PM Mike: 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.
What? We think he's saying the phone is no good for multimedia experiences... and that RIM will hang onto its old mobile OS! Really? Really Mike?
4:36PM Walt: But look, there's a growing consensus that your OS is dated. When will this become the new OS?
Mike: By focusing on the tablet market, we see it as a way of freeing where smartphones can go.
Kara: So the tablet is the phone?
4:35PM Walt: So this is going to migrate into BlackBerry OS?
Mike: 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.
4:33PM Walt: So when is this launching?
Mike: We're tracking Q1.
4:33PM Walt: So you have QNX, which you acquired.
Mike: What's amazing is that all these companies come from the U of Waterloo... we also have Certicom. That's part of the family. DataViz, and now Torch. We're bringing all of these together to setup BlackBerry for the next decade.
4:32PM Walt: This is not using the BlackBerry OS at all?
4:32PM Walt: This is the QNX platform, but running Adobe AIR.
Mike: We run a lot of platforms here -- we also run POSIX natively. Lots of gaming options there. This is a complete mobile computing platform.
4:31PM Mike: What's really powerful here is the engine. It allows us to do a lot of things.
4:30PM Mike is on stage and showing off some of the PlayBook. It looks pretty slick -- though there is some slight animation lag.