Dec 2 (Reuters) - Research In Motion's PlayBook tablet computer, which went on sale last April, is the Canadian company's biggest foray outside the smartphone business since launching the iconic BlackBerry in 1999.
Here are five facts about RIM:
* Mike Lazaridis co-founded Research In Motion with a school friend while studying at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. He left school months before graduating as contracts flowed in for the startup. The university later gave him an honorary degree.
* The level of encryption used in BlackBerrys has made them de rigeur devices for governments and corporations sending sensitive information while out of the office. It has also drawn the ire of countries, including India and the United Arab Emirates, which have demanded access to the system.
* U.S. President Barack Obama is a BlackBerry aficionado who fought the Secret Service to keep a Spartan version of the device once he stepped into the Oval Office.
* RIM's main campus is a 90-minute drive from Toronto and minutes from Lazaridis' alma mater. It is also near a sizable Mennonite community that eschews many modern conveniences.
* RIM's PlayBook runs on an operating system from QNX Software, a company RIM bought after realizing it ran almost all the infotainment systems in automobiles (as well as nuclear reactors, Internet routers and the U.S. postal service). (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Janet Guttsman)