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Is The Blackberry Playbook A Player?

Posted by Alan at 6:16 PM on January 9, 2011

For a couple of months now there has been some buzz surrounding the upcoming Blackberry tablet known as the Playbook.  Is it for real or just a lot of hype over nothing, like some of the recent phones from RIM?  This CES provided a hands-on which finally gave people a chance to find out.

This relatively small 5×7 device has created a rather large hubbub in recent times and since I haven’t had the chance to play with one I decided to see what the lucky few have had the chance had to say about it.

Frankly I have been a bit surprised.  I expected a bit of a downer, given the recent spate of bad luck RIM has had with new products.  But I have seen the gaming, multimedia, and video conferencing capabilities called “sexy”.  It has been deemed a “flash loving” device, which immediately separates it from the Apple iPad.  In short, I have not found any real negatives in any of the major reviews I have read.

Of course, with or without Flash, it still has an uphill battle to compete with the iPad.  We have also seen a proliferation of Android and Windows 7 tablets at CES, which also pose a direct threat to the Playbook.  While Windows 7 has been widely maligned as a tablet OS the ones I have seen in the past few days may change that sentiment.

We don’t have an exact release date for the Playbook yet, but it doesn’t appear to be too far off.  If they can get to market in a timely manner and beat a lot of the other tablets that debuted this past week then they have a shot to at least find a spot in the market, if not take a decent portion of it.

3 Comments

  1. From John Knights at 1:07 am on January 10, 2011

    Let me guess though… it was tethered to a powered connection right?

    No negatives in the major reviews you’ve read, well I may not be reading the same articles but battery life is a major headache from what I have heard, and it seems to stem from the operating system and it’s lack of power management features that specifically work with the hardware that it is running on.

    Combine that with the major features, like flash, that BB are boasting about and you have a recipe for disaster as we know Flash to be inefficient and hungry at the best of times.

    And people seem to be steered away from the fact that you NEED a BlackBerry tethered to the tablet in order to use basic functions like the calender…so I hear. The two operating systems are incompatible and therefore developers need to cater for two platforms to fully support BlackBerry. A total mess.

    Very interesting concept but everything new I see with this device suggests a huge amount of smoke and mirrors being used, and BB are clearly hoping to have this stuff finished for release.

  2. From Peter Hansen at 10:07 am on January 10, 2011

    “John Knights” sounds like a shill for some competitor who is really scared. The battery life “issue” comes from a single biased analyst who basically has no facts to back up his claims. In fact, QNX is very power-efficient, and the PlayBook design seems to take into account the fact that Flash apps aren’t inherently power-miserly, among other things by dropping the frame rate of backgrounded apps way down. Also, none of the devices anyone has seen, including that analyst, have *any* power management running, so the dual-core CPU is running at full tilt all the time. Obviously this will change by release time, so we can expect quite reasonable battery life.

    I’d say more, but John’s “recipe for disaster” and “total mess” comments make it clear he’s too biased for any reasonable discussion.

  3. From Andrew at 4:54 pm on January 11, 2011

    I have no idea if John Knights is a shill or not but his points aren’t too different from those made on the Smartphone Experts podcast last week. Certainly it appears that BBM won’t be available unless it is tethered to a Blackberry because of the way the BB infrastructure works and the unique ID (I forget what the exact name of this is).
    Also you only have to look at Palm and the Foleo to see the potential for problems. The CEO at the time at Palm cancelled the Foleo because he felt that having two OSes was going to be a problem.
    RIM admitted at CES (as reported on the above podcast) that power management was being left until the end so I wouldn’t be surprised if v1 does have less-than-perfect battery life and OTA version updates are pushed out to improve matters over time.