RIM Buys Usability and UI Shop TAT

Although many will disagree, one of the great weakness of the BlackBery universe is the UI and overall user experience. I'm sure no one could successfully argue that on other than the keyboard front RIM beats the iPhone or even Android at this point.

To remedy that RIM has acquired interface design and usability experts The Astonishing Tribe. The purchase price wasn't disclosed.

It's an important -- even urgent -- move for RIM in the company's bid to remain one of the top smartphone purveyors and grow their business internationally. There are mixed signals about RIM's sales performance and outlook.

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Generally speaking the company is on the defensive and not expected to maintain its leadership position in North America -- although one report found that RIM devices had overtaken iPhone on the mobile Web in the US. I remain quite skeptical of that however. 

Regardless this is a good move for RIM. Now Waterloo needs to give TAT maximum flexibility to design next-gen user experiences for the venerable platform.