Blackberry PlayBook iPad Rival Announced – a Few Quick Thoughts

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RIM – makers of Blackberry devices – have announced their upcoming tablet device, called the Blackberry PlayBook.  This will likely be seen as one of the primary rivals for the iPad when it is released – which is expected to be in ‘early 2011’.

Watching the promo video for the PalyBook, I have to say that the more I see of potential iPad rival devices, the more this feels like deja vu with the way all the other smartphone makers rushed around desperate to copy the iPhone for the first couple of years after the original iPhone launched.

A few quick thoughts on the PlayBook:

— It has some notable hardware specs that are well ahead of the iPad, for instance:

1GB of RAM is four times as much as the iPad has

Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording

A dual-core processor

It should be noted though that by the time it is launched there will be a new iPad model either already out or right round the corner, that will likely match or better those hardware specs. It seems all but certain that the next iPad will have two cameras and support FaceTime video chat – and a better processor and beefed up RAM should be included as well (I hope Apple will not got with 512MB, 1GB is a much better amount).

—  The ‘smartphone wars’ have taught us by now that success is not all about hardware specs anyway. In fact I think they are a relatively small factor in choosing essential mobile devices. For starters, they’re more or less ever-changing anyway – as in, a slightly bigger, faster model always appears X months after you buy your latest, greatest model from whichever manufacturer. It’s the platform that matters as far as I’m concerned – the mobile OS, the apps, the interface, the way that hardware and OS work together. For me, that’s the critical stuff – not which device has a slight edge on processor power or RAM for a 6-month window.

And that’s where I believe Apple will continue to lap the field – in terms of having the best overall platform.

— The video highlights that the PlayBook is ‘Flash-loving’. For many people that’s going to be a killer feature. I’m quite happy without it – and every time my MacBook grinds to a halt due to yet another Flash player meltdown I feel a little happier that I don’t have to worry about it on iOS devices.

— Another highlighted trait for the PlayBook is that it is ‘App Rocking’. That seems a strange area to focus on for a Blackberry device, bearing in mind that reports show that in 2009, iOS accounted for over 95% of ALL mobile app sales. Blackberry’s app store was lumped in the under 5% that all other mobile stores together generated in mobile app sales. Not sure those are ‘rocking’ sort of numbers for Blackberry.

— The promo video ends with this message:

Introducing the first multiprocessing, multitasking, uncompromised browsing, enterprise ready professional tablet.

Apparently they are planning to offer full desktop-level multitasking, rather than iOS’s restricted cut-down version of it. They’ll need all that 1GB of RAM and a very smart execution to make that a good feature. If it’s not done well, that could be a nightmare for novice users in particular.

They also imply that theirs is the first enterprise-ready and professional tablet – big talk for an unreleased product, and completely wrong as well I’d say. The iPad is already making huge inroads in the enterprise space and the corporate arena. Just as one recent example, SAP’s CIO has announced plans to rollout 17,000 iPads to their staff around the world over the next 12 months – and there are numerous other cases of major enterprises adopting the iPad of late. I think Blackberry will find that they will not be the automatic choice in the enterprise tablet market, and that iPad will give them a heck of a run for their money. It’s certainly got a great head-start and may well be established as the clear leader in this space by the time the PlayBook is launched.

What do you all think of this latest potential ‘iPad killer’?

News Via: BGR

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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4 thoughts on “Blackberry PlayBook iPad Rival Announced – a Few Quick Thoughts”

  1. Apparently the only 'apps' supported will be developed using HTML5 on webkit or flash. This means that they will have lame, cross-platform shovelware apps that barely exploit and hardware capabilities and rely on 3rd party engines for all their performance. As far as an environment, it is a joke. They are joining the flash war after it has ended.

  2. I agree with much of what you wrote. However, i think it is far from a foregone conclusion that iPad2 will have two cameras. In fact, I think it far more likely that it will have only one – front facing, for Facetime.

    Holding up the iPad to snap a pic with a rear camera simply feels………awful. Just try :)

    1. Ah but perhaps Apple are relying on the ever-booming Apple accessory vendor market to rush out robots that hold the iPad for us when the rear camera is needed, or iPad tripods for the purpose. :)

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