The BlackBerry PlayBook officially became available Tuesday. The question is, how many consumers will opt for the Research In Motion device after mixed reviews emphasized as much, if not more, bad as good?
According to news reports, consumers aren't lining up around the block to pick up one of the enterprises devices. In other words, it doesn't look like an Apple iPad launch. Few expected that sort of demand. Still, retailers are reporting early interest in what appears to be something of an underdog in the tablet market.
According to The Wall Street Journal, several retailers, including a Sears department store in Toronto, a Staples in New York, and a Best Buy in Boston, are citing interest in the PlayBook. RIM will remain tight-lipped about how many PlayBooks have been sold until its next quarterly earnings report.
AT&T's Tethering Ban
One of the criticisms of the PlayBook is the lack of native e-mail. RIM expects PlayBook users to tether the tablet device to a BlackBerry smartphone using the BlackBerry Bridge for now. But AT&T is making that impossible, which means PlayBook users on that network can't tap into their contacts, calendar or e-mail. AT&T won't support tethering.
But some industry watchers aren't counting the PlayBook down for the count. Nick Bontis, a national award-winning professor of strategic management at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, is one of them.
"Last play of the game, it's fourth down and 90 yards to go, will RIM's new PlayBook score a touchdown? Only if it delights the early adopters," Bontis said. The author of Information Bombardment: Rising above the digital onslaught said, "Most analysts have already written the PlayBook off as an unworthy competitor to the iPad 2. But you never know. Hail Mary passes have won football games before."
QNX vs Android
Zeus Kerravala, a vice president at Yankee Group, sees potential and challenges for the PlayBook. The potential is the BlackBerry user base, which is still strong in the enterprise. But the challenge is limiting it to the BlackBerry user base, which cuts out most of the tablet-buying market. Then there's the QNX operating system.
"The decision to use QNX is kind of an odd one. I believe it's a good operating system, but most QNX developers out there work on things like cars and routers and devices. It's primarily been used as an embedded operating system rather than a user-based OS," Kerravala said "RIM has to seed applications in the market. I know the PlayBook can run Android apps, but if Android was the target market, then why didn't they just build an Android device?"
The PlayBook OS is called the BlackBerry Tablet OS. Some reviewers say the multitasking capabilities are better than what the iPad 2 offers. The PlayBook weighs less than a pound and is only one-half inch thick. The device includes stereo speakers and stereo microphones, and dual 1080p HD cameras for video conferencing and video capture.
Technology-wise, the PlayBook offers a one-gigahertz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM and a seven-inch high-resolution LCD screen. Users can tap into Wi-Fi for Internet access. There is 64GB of internal storage on the top-of-the-line model. The device has GPS, an accelerometer, a six-axis motion sensor, and a digital compass. The three models feature 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage at $499, $599 and $699, respectively.
Posted: 2011-04-20 @ 10:10am PT
The Playbook has access to over 1,000,000 web-based apps, known as Flash applications that the iPad CANNOT use.
This notion that all apps have to be downloaded and paid for from some proprietary app store is overblown.
Further, the Playbook is just getting started - in 2 months the functionality of the device will be far superior due to the upgrading that will take place effortlessly through the Playbook system itself (no extra hookups required).