Is RIM set to make an astonishing comeback with The Astonishing Tribe?

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Research in Motion completed another acquisition yesterday, and once again the move has tech geeks buzzing more than those who know the company by ticker symbol first.

TAT, an acronym for The Astonishing Tribe is a company that was formed in Malmo, Sweden in 2002. TAT got a foothold in the rendering and structuring of user interfaces for wireless devices and has subsequently worked with some of the big boys in the space, including Motorola, Samsung and SONY.

TAT’s technology is behind nearly half a billion mobile devices, perhaps most interesting to investors is the fact they developed the user interface for the first Android phone, the G1 from T-Mobile.

The acquisition of TAT comes on the heels of RIM’s acquisitions of app maker Data Viz, app store software design firm Cell Mania and, as we profiled recently, Ottawa’s QNX, the operating system set to become the platform for all RIM devices.

RIM has taken its share of lumps from the techie press in 2010 for technology that was seen as “clunky and quaint compared to iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7”.

But, for at least the second time this year, the tech media are fawning over the Waterloo company’s move. Engadget said that RIM’s user interface is “in danger of becoming awesome” and that “pairing the rock solid foundation of the QNX-built PlayBook OS with some top-level spit-shine from a company specializing in exactly that has us legitimately excited” Erica Ogg of CNET News said “If the Blackberry maker is going to compete in the tablet world, with its App World marketplace, and with its software for smartphones, these are good steps.”

The Astonishing Tribe’s concept videos give us a glimpse into what RIM may be up to with user interfaces down the road. TAT’s stretchable and transparent screens, coupled with advanced 2D to 3D rendering, may even have the harshest critics of the seven inch Blackberry Playbook screen taking another look.

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