At E3 on Monday, Microsoft unveiled a new feature to be rolled out for its Xbox platform, called Xbox SmartGlass. This allows the transfer of media between your tablet, phone and TV using Xbox video. For example, you could start watching a movie on your tablet while out, easily switch to your TV when you get home, and the movie will resume exactly where you left off.
Once you make the transfer, the phone or tablet is kept up to date with information about the movie such as cast, crew etc., or more involved, such as showing the location of the action on a map of the virtual world.
While at the surface this seems like a strong push from Microsoft to add intriguing layers to its Windows Phone line, they announced that this would be a cross platform service. To paraphrase:
"SmartGlass will be available on Windows and Windows Phones, iPhone and iPad, and Android devices. You can use this service on the devices you already own."
It's obvious what devices were left out of this.
To me, this demonstrates the challenge that Research In Motion is facing. Already it must make sure BlackBerry 10 is fantastic, and that it has quality apps at launch. Suddenly, it's faced with a new threat not by one, but ALL its competitors! While I feel the PlayBook and BlackBerry 10 would be a wonderful fit in this, given that Microsoft is gunning for the third position in smartphone dominance currently held by BlackBerry, I don't think they are too eager to include them.
The point of this is not to be negative, but simply to point out that not only are existing challenges a barrier for RIM, but that unexpected new ones can emerge at any time. Fortunately I have faith in their ability to succeed. If good enough, a multi-device platform may not be vital to their success.
"Keep Calm and Be Bold".