RIM's Balsillie pumps up PlayBook, hits Apple over app model

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) co-CEO Jim Balsillie ratcheted up the BlackBerry maker's war of words with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), arguing RIM's PlayBook tablet will be "three to four times faster" than Apple's popular iPad.

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) co-CEO Jim Balsillie Balsillie also took issue with the way Apple has framed the mobile Internet debate in terms of apps. Speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit, Balsillie said that "the Web shouldn't be an app. I don't need a YouTube app to go to YouTube."

"We believe that you can bring the mobile to the Web," he said, according to Telegraph. "You don't need to go through some kind of software development kit. That's the core part of our message. You can use your existing development environment. There's still a role for apps, but can you use your existing content? Can you use your existing Web assets? Do you need a set of proprietary tools to bring existing assets on to a device, or can you use known tools that you use for creating websites?"

Apple, of course, has ruled the roost in terms of apps, and its App Store now boasts more than 250,000 apps. RIM's BlackBerry App World, meanwhile, has yet to crack even 20,000.

Balsillie also talked up the 7-inch PlayBook, which he has said will go on sale early next year for less than $500. He alluded to a "module cavity" on the PlayBook, which may be used to add wide-area wireless connectivity to the device (the initial version will only connect to a cellular network through a paired BlackBerry device). 

Interestingly, the RIM co-chief said the company is considering adding Near Field Communications to its devices so customers can perform mobile payments. "We'd be fools not have it in the near term," he said. "And we're not fools." Google CEO Eric Schmidt said earlier this week that Android 2.3 will support NFC technology.  

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this PC Magazine article
- see this Telegraph article
- see this Engadget post

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