Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.
When Apple introduced the iPad
, it had but a smattering of third-party applications, but the company stressed its own. As Apple iPhone software SVP Scott Forstall stated in the iPad introduction video, "We looked at the device and we decided: let's redesign it all. Let's redesign, reimagine and rebuild every single app from the ground up specifically for the iPad."
Compare this to the strategy employed by RIM, makers of the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook
tablet. One year after the iPad's debut, Apple's head start in apps has proven a formidable advantage against the onslaught of slates announced by its competitors in the smartphone world. Some have chosen to latch onto Android and attain backwards compatibility with over 200,000 existing smartphone apps. HP, with its TouchPad
as flagship, will circle its wagons of PCs, printers and phones around the webOS platform. However, the announcement this week that RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook will support Android apps says much about how the company sees its position in the tablet wars.