RIM, the manufacturer of BlackBerry phones, is releasing its PlayBook tablet computer soon and the reviews are starting to come in. Doesn’t sound like a significant threat to the Apple’s iPad to me. The PlayBook is a seven inch tablet (vs 10 inches for the iPad), and it won’t access your email, contacts or calendars unless you connect through a Blackberry. Also, there are very few third party apps.
David Pogue, The New York Times:
The PlayBook, then, is convenient, fast and coherently designed. But in its current half-baked form, it seems almost silly to try to assess it, let alone buy it.
Remember, the primary competition is an iPad — the same price, but much thinner, much bigger screen and a library of 300,000 apps. In that light, does it make sense to buy a fledgling tablet with no built-in e-mail or calendar, no cellular connection, no videochat, Skype, no Notes app, no GPS app, no videochat, no Pandora radio and no Angry Birds
Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal:
This first edition of the PlayBook has no built-in cellular data connection and lacks such basic built-in apps as an email program, a contacts program, a calendar, a memo pad and even RIM’s popular BlackBerry Messenger chat system.
To get these features with your $500 PlayBook, you must use it with a nearby BlackBerry phone connected to it wirelessly over a short-range Bluetooth connection. Once this link is made, these critical applications pop up on the PlayBook’s screen, via a system called Bridge.
But these are essentially ghosts of the same apps on the phone. In my tests, I could use them from the tablet, where they looked nicer, and they did synchronize with the phone. But when I broke the connection, the apps became grayed-out and the data they held disappeared. It is all stored on the phone.
This odd system, aimed at pleasing security-concerned corporate customers, doesn’t work with other smartphones. So, in my view, even though Bridge is a neat technical feat, it makes the PlayBook a companion to a BlackBerry phone rather than a fully independent device.
MG Siegler, TechCrunch:
Is the PlayBook comparable to the iPad? No. Between the (lack of) app support and the wonky web browsing, there’s just no way around that fact. But RIM was smart to make the PlayBook a completely different form factor and give it BlackBerry Bridge to appeal to corporate users. So in that regard, there could be significant interest in this device.
But given that it’s selling at the same price points as the iPad, I find it hard to imagine they’ll be able to compete in the consumer space right now. Maybe if they can nail the Android app support that will change the scene a bit. But Google and their partners are undoubtedly hard at work to make sure something like that doesn’t happen as well — can you imagine the humiliation if a non-Android tablet outsells the Android devices thanks to it being able to run Android apps?
- Pogue Pans the PlayBook (cultofmac.com)
- The reviews are in: PlayBook’s biggest hurdle is software (9to5mac.com)
- The BlackBerry PlayBook Review (anandtech.com)
- Review: BlackBerry PlayBook (news.cnet.com)