I had a chance to talk to Paul Lucier yesterday at The Conference held in Malmö. Paul Lucier works as the Managing Director for Northern Europe and Russia at RIM. He’s stationed in Stockholm, Sweden and working from there to build RIM’s presence into the region. Everyone who’s had their toes in the mobile streams long enough know that RIM is a serious player in the market with their Blackberry products and services. Yesterday I got the chance to see a few of their products and play around a little with the new Playbook that will hit shelves this September in Sweden. What’s also good to know is that RIM is looking to build up its presence in the region, not only to sell more devices, but also attract more developer talent.

Late last year, RIM acquired The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), one of the more prominent user interface companies in the world when it comes to the mobile space. I talked to Hampus Jakobsson about the acquisition, but since it’s such a great story – I’ll save it for another post. With the acquisition of TAT, RIM has now more than 150 people in the region working towards a common goal.

Paul Lucier also shared with us that RIM is looking to open up a lot more sales channels it currently has in place. Currently you’re able to buy Blackberry devices in some of the Baltic states and Sweden. This will be dramatically expanded, so that all countries in the region will be able to purchase a RIM device from their own country. The community of RIM users isn’t small at all. Globally speaking there are around 45 million users on the RIM messenger network, which is a core functionality built into all the RIM devices.

Perhaps more interestingly, RIM is also bringing the Playbook to the Nordic market in December. In just a few weeks, Playbook will be available in Sweden and most likely to be expanded to other countries soon after that. Playbook is the tablet device from RIM that has also seen a lot of work from TAT put into it. Playbook will be a direct competitor to the iPad, so it’ll be priced in a similar fashion.

I was given a demo of the Playbook and having seen some Android tablets, Playbook is impressive. Not only is the software a lot more smoother than on Android devices the hardware running behind it is also impressive. It’s got a 1Ghz processor with 1Gb of RAM. It may not sound a lot, but watching a HD video in another window while viewing on a Flash filled site worked without any problems and glitches.

The device itself is a little smaller than the iPad and all in all, I was quite impressed with it. It’s interesting to see RIM push their reach into Northern Europe and also build a stronger presence here. It won’t be easy, but one thing is certain – more competition gives developers great possibilities in getting their applications across to the users.

Below is a short video I shot regarding the Playbook and a demo of its performance. The video running on the device is full HD. There’s no sound in it, so no need to adjust your volume.

Image by edans

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