Research in Motion's CEO, Jim Balsillie has hit back at Steve Jobs' dismissive claims that 7 inch tablets are too small to offer a good user experience.
Speaking at Apple's earnings conference call this week, Jobs rubbed up his rivals the wrong way by describing 7 inch tablets (such as RIM's forthcoming PlayBook) as "tweeners - too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad."
He then predicted such sized tablets will be ‘dead on arrival' and dismissed competition saying there are only a ‘handful' of credible rivals in the tablet space.
Balsillie wrote in a blog: "For those of us who live outside of Apple's distortion field, we know that 7 inch 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."
As well as flaunting Flash, in a further sting he added: "We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple."
Balsillie acknowledged that many developers (and customers) want access to web sites that can support Flash, implying that despite its size, RIM's tablet will be superior to the iPad. He also bigged-up BlackBerry sales in response to Jobs' crowing about the iPhone's success in the past quarter.
Balsillie said: "And by the way, RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 - 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter. Apple's preference to compare its September-ending quarter with RIM's August-ending quarter doesn't tell the whole story because it doesn't take into account that industry demand in September is typically stronger than summer months, nor does it explain why Apple only shipped 8.4 million devices in its prior quarter and whether Apple's Q4 results were padded by unfulfilled Q3 customer demand and channel orders."
In a final attack on Apple's controlling approach to the market and the media, he added: "As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story."