While Steve Jobs was making critical comments about Android yesterday, he also took a swing at plans for 7-inch tablet PCs. Announcing with broad strokes that they both wouldn’t make it to market, but that they were bad for the app ecology, mentioning that 7-inches was too small to create effective tablet apps. Saying of the tiny screens that the devices would also need to offer sandpaper so that users could sharpen their fingertips.
According to VentureBeat, Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of Research In Motion (the planned manufacturers of this 7-inch tablet device Jobs impugned), felt the need to get his own shots in.
For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7” tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience. We also know that while Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash. We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple.
Steve Jobs managed to strike more than a few nerves yesterday, drawing words from multiple players in the mobile industry with his vituperative speech. The “closed platform” portion of Balsillie’s reply actually ties directly back into yesterday’s fusillade of reproach from the technology sector about Steve Jobs’s presentation. While attempting to criticize Android, he decided to make a show of the tension between open and closed platforms—Apple Inc. maintains a gated developer community and a proprietary standard, a paradigm that the popular Google Android does not embrace.
While his appearance certainly will strike cords with fans of the Apple platform, it’s sent notable ripples through the rest of the mobile industry—and, from yesterday’s tweetstorm, the Android reply of computer code vs. speech certainly came across as much wittier than Jobs’s analytical mud-slinging. Balsillie even went on in his reply to elaborate about how well RIM is doing with their tablet sales and what research they’re basing their new developments on. Perhaps Jobs’s is just explaining why Apple isn’t producing a 7-inch tablet PC, but he’s certainly failed to make any strong arguments against a competitor doing it better.
They’re Apple, after all. If they do end up making a 7-inch iTablet, they might just innovate around the need for sandpaper and sharp fingertips. In other RIM news, the phone maker recently revealed a new device running OS6.