Research In Motion, a/k/a the Blackberry people, announced today that mobile UI designers The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) is coming aboard to work on the Playbook and smartphone platforms. Explains RIM's CTO David Yach:
"For those who don't know, TAT is renowned for their innovative mobile user interface (UI) designs and has a long history of working with mobile and embedded technology. TAT focuses on delivering great user experiences, from a design, technology, and usability perspective. Their design technology is used today in a variety of industries including the consumer electronics and automotive sectors."
Tat Home Screen
A quick look at the TAT website showcases their customizable, widget-loaded Android home screen and Cascades rapid UI development tool — all of which is oriented more to the touchscreen than to the traditional Blackberry keyboard. However, the recent screen-centric Blackberry Torch for AT&T — and, of course, the (iPad response) Playbook — shows that RIM is taking another tab at touchscreen handhelds (the failed Storm not withstanding).
What remains to be seen is if TAT's focus on Android OS means that RIM will go Droid in the near future, or if TAT will meld their UI expertise to the Blackberry OS.