RIM chief claims operators want open tablets

The tablet wars will be won by companies who back open standards and align themselves with carrier interests, RIM co-CEO Jim Basillie said Wednesday.
“When you look at how consumer electronics players work with operators, there has to be constructive alignment [between them] to create a transformative experience for consumers and a sustainable business for the operator,” Basillie said during his Mobile World Congress keynote speech.
From a device design perspective, that means delivering a tablet that not only sports “CIO-approved” security and has enough processing horsepower to support multitasking, but also runs open standards and web tools such as HTML 5, CSS and JavaScript, and adheres to existing Web standards – particularly Adobe Flash, Basillie said in a subtle swipe at Apple, which doesn’t install Flash in the iPad and iPhone.
“During the sessions yesterday, many operator CEOs said, we want openness,” Basillie said. “They want us to bring mobility to web standards.”
Innovation is great, he said, “but it has to be done with a carrier-aligned strategy.”
A key element to that – at least for tablet makers with apps ecosystems – will be leveraging the ability of carriers to act as a payment and billing platform, Basillie said. “When you enable carrier billing, their ARPU goes up fast.”
Basillie cited announcements from RIM this week that BlackBerry AppWorld is working directly with carrier billing for Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Vodafone, with services ranging from paid apps appearing on a DT customer’s phone bill to Telefonica facilitating in-app payments.
“Carriers can participate directly in the apps ecosystem this way,” Basillie said.
Basillie also said that NFC is an extension of the carrier payment strategy, and one that RIM fully intends to exploit.
“Many if not most [new] BlackBerry devices this year will have NFC in them,” Basillie said.