The tablet market is fierce. The iPad 2 is set to ship in just a few days, and companies like HP and Samsung are also poised to release new tablets in the first half of 2011. RIM, the maker of those oh-so-popular BlackBerrys is also planning to release its own tablet device in just a few weeks. Unfortunately for them, they’ll be doing it without their marketing chief Keith Pardy who is reportedly leaving the company for personal reasons.
Pardy had previously worked at both Nokia and Coca-Cola before joining forces with RIM where he was tasked with revamping RIM’s justly deserved corporate image and injecting a bit of youth and style into the brand.
The departure of Mr. Pardy, who was hired from Nokia Corp. in early 2009, deprives the smartphone maker of a marketing chief during the crucial lead-up to the launch of its PlayBook tablet, expected at the end of March or early April.
It reflects larger turmoil in RIM, as the company struggles to remake itself from a maker of corporate-workhorse devices known for security and reliability to a producer of hip, media-savvy gadgets that can compete with the likes of Apple Inc.’s iPhones and iPads, say people familiar with RIM’s strategy.
Not an auspicious beginning to RIM’s tablet rollout, especially in light of reports that the PlayBook was experiencing significant battery performance issues – on a 7 inch screen no less.
Back in November, RIM CEO Jim Balsillie said that the PlayBook will be competitively priced, going so far as to say it’ll be cheaper than the $499 iPad.