BlackBerry Playbook: Business Tablet Killer?
Lookout Cisco and Apple, there may be a new tablet contender in town. RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook is a tablet computer designed from the ground up to be the ultimate business tablet… But is it? Read on for my opinion based on the hardware, software, and the cold hard dollar…
I’ll do my best to compare Apple’s to Berries, or to Androids for that matter, but this does seem like something new from RIM. BlackBerry has taken a unique approach that is almost similar to Apple. Take what’s so great about the BlackBerry, make it a tablet, but make it uniquely for the tablet. While iOS’s iPad iteration might not seem like such a big leap from phone to tablet, there’s plenty different going on under the hood.
The Learning Company
That being said, BlackBerry seems to have learned from their Storm debacles, and is touting the Playbook as running a custom “BlackBerry Tablet OS” specifically (not the BlackBerry OS with a ‘touch’ layer on top). The OS is based on QNX, which is a Unix distribution designed for mobile devices. It does everything you’d expect it a serious tablet contender to do at this point: Flash, HTML5, apps, dual cameras for video chatting, HDMI out, a beefy 1GB of RAM coupled with a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU at 1GHz. The 7-inch tablet weighs in at just under a pound, and ounce for ounce, this thing seems like the first serious contender to the iPad, considering that Android tablets have been a mishmosh of pros and cons.
The easiest way to really check out the device, however, is to watch this cute promo…
Dollars and Cents
There’s no word on the price yet, but RIM plans on launching the device in October to developers and early-adopters in the Enterprise. Smart strategy, since consumers will get their hands on it in early 2011, which means a decent incubation period for more apps. Smarter yet, RIM simultaneously has launched “BlackBerry WebWorks toolkit” to allow for writing both to Blackberry OS 6 and Tablet OS.
RIM doesn’t detail if a BlackBerry and/or a phone plan is required with the device, but the specs don’t cite any cellular hardware inside. It’ll be interesting if this doesn’t require a BlackBerry, since the adoption rate could skyrocket higher than if you needed to be tied down to an existing mobile phone.
Lastly, despite hardware specs and ports and gizmos, there’s one thing about the Playbook that truly sets it against all the other iPad contenders — polish. It’s clear that RIM spent a long time tweaking this device to look sexy and run smooth, something the Android guys haven’t quite pinned down, something Apple knows inside and out. So interface and usability will be a huge factor, but ultimately, it’ll be the consumer voting with their wallet.
And yes, even this blogger would want one.