CTIA Wireless 2008: RIMs New Target - the Kitchen?!?!
RIM's booth at the CTIA Show Stopper event on Monday night wasn't that fancy (nothing like the big booth they have at the main exhibitor's hall), but it was still worth checking out. I got my hands on an operational Verizon 8330 Curve (web browsing seemed uber fast!) and chatted with a couple of RIM folk. I begged to see a 9000 but nobody present had one on hand to show me (at least that's what they said anyways).
BUT..I did stumble onto one juicy piece of news. It seem's RIM is going to broaden their horizon a bit, and has set-up a new internal division to tackle market opportunities outside the smartphone arena. Their first stop? The Kitchen. A senior marketing executive from RIM had this to say,
"The move into kitchen appliances is a natural extension for us. Everybody thinks the BlackBerry is a fruit anyways. Our brand belongs in the kitchen. And compared to the smartphone game, kitchen appliances are relatively low-tech. We'll be able to dominate the competition with innovative new products. We're working on a WiFi connected BlackBerry stove that pings your BlackBerry smartphone when the cookies are done and a refrigerator that monitors food inventory levels and can push the order out to the grocery store automatically. Besides, have you seen our CEO Mike? He loves to eat!"
Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Walklay, who was also at the booth when I was there noted, "I'm surprised RIM didn't start out with a coffee maker, seeing as they have so much experience with Java." It's a good point - at least if RIM had coffee makers instead of fridges in Vegas I could fit one in my suitcase to take home with me. More news to come on his when RIM makes their announcement later this week during CTIA.