RIM Thinks Apps are Overrated and Will Fade

Co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM)—Jim Balsillie—made some very interesting remarks at the Web 2.0 Summing going on in San Francisco. According to him, “We believe you can bring the mobile to the Web, but you don’t need to go through some kind of control point.” He went on to further say that “You don’t need an app for the web.” His remarks raise an interesting point—is every website going to eventually have to build an app?

RIM’s strategy with its upcoming PlayBook tablet is different than what Apple has done with its iPad and what the various manufacturers building their Android powered tablets are doing. Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ and higher supports Adobe Flash content (sometimes really well and sometimes not so well) and tablets running Android will obviously have access to Flash-based web content. Apple’s iPad and the rest of its iOS family of personal electronic devices do not support Flash and probably never will. Instead, Apple is relying on developers to build apps for distribution through Apple’s tightly controlled iTunes App Store to deliver the enhanced experience that Flash has long been the go-to resource to create.

The PlayBook is being built from the ground up to support Flash and the company is hoping that it will bring a product to launch that seamlessly surfs the internet as well as a traditional computer. Thus, the importance of apps will diminish. Or at least that’s what Balsillie is saying. His company’s BlackBerry App World is still in the 10,000 app range while iTunes has hit the 300,000 app mark in considerably less time. Google’s Android Market is also experience massive app growth and may catch up with Apple in the next year or two. Are apps dead? Certainly not.

Basillie is trying to make the point that apps that bring complex website features to smartphones and tablets should become less important in the future as smartphones and tablets become more powerful and can start doing the stuff regular desktop computers can. He certainly needs to frame the discussion in this way because let’s face it, if you want apps, BlackBerry is not the platform to use. At the same time however, his company is pushing developers to start building apps for the PlayBook. The PlayBook’s new operating system will find its way to RIM’s smartphones in the next year or two and while apps that function basically as websites might become less important, apps themselves are going to just keep getting more popular.

Check out Jim Balsillie, at Web 2.0 here;

Apps going to fade out eventually? RIM just trying to make the point that apps don’t matter as much anymore because the PlayBook handles web browsing really well according to demonstrations? Let me know what you think. I’ll stick with my apps in the meantime even though I do wish Flash will eventually come to iOS, and RIM’s entire line of BlackBerry smartphones like RIM and Adobe promised…

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