In a recent interview with Research in Motion’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, a comparison between lightweight netbook laptops and BlackBerrys was made.
Would you consider Netbooks as your competitors?
Lazaridis: No, I think I can put Netbooks in here [referring to the BlackBerry Storm]. These are Netbooks. They are just smaller.
Huh. What a curious thing to say. I mean, what makes the Storm more of a netbook than other BlackBerry models? And why is size inconsequential to categorizing the devices? Smartphones certainly are encroaching on laptop-like utility, but there’s still a fairly clear distinction, isn’t there? A later question to co-CEO #2, Jim Balsillie, clears up the relationship Lazaridis is making to laptops.
The second thing that’s happening with smart phones is that it’s subsuming more of the other features around it like, an MP3 player. It’s a personal navigation device and it does a lot of what your laptop would do. I think what’s really driving it is sector substitution and this expands the capacity of computing, but the one thing that stays is the one that’s got the radio because you need the radio for your cellular. You need something to talk and move packets on. I think that’s what really driving the sector is substitution and the subsuming and interfacing of other things.
Ahh, so maybe the BlackBerry Storm isn’t exactly a netbook, but it is competing with them. What do you guys think – will smartphones squeeze netbooks and other ultra-mobile computers out of the market, or are they here to stay?
The rest of the interview is a solid read – they talk about the Asian market, fuel cells, the application storefront, and plenty more, so check it out.