RIM's PlayBook lacks the applications and content necessary to challenge Apple's iPad and Google Android tablets. As an enterprise tablet, though, perhaps it isn't really meant to.
When rumors bubbled up last week
that Research In Motion was set to unveil a tablet
computer, talk turned to how the device would battle Apple's iPad and devices
based on Google's Android operating system.
It turns out that the PlayBook-as the world learned it was called after its launch
at the BlackBerry Developer Conference Sept. 27-is
more of a rival to a desktop or notebook in the business sector.
Indeed, the 7-inch device, expected to be available in the United States
early next year, is not a BlackBerry OS-flavored version of today's
media-focused tablets, such as the popular iPad
or the Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tab
RIM is not positioning its tablet as a Netflix-craving machine geared for
mass video consumption, but as a device fitted with "true multitasking,
high performance multimedia, and advanced security features."
The tablet's pair of embedded cameras will enable smooth video conferencing.
The PlayBook is also compatible with BlackBerry Enterprise Server, enabling all
manner of business apps to run on the device.
Enterprise-grade security is all well and good, but a tablet still demands
content and applications.
To wit: RIM, at the launch event, also unveiled its BlackBerry Messenger
Social Platform, BlackBerry WebWorks Application Platform
, a new Enterprise Application Development Platform
Advertising Services to augment its application ecosystem. Unfortunately, these
are nascent platforms and products.
While RIM said it sports 35 million BlackBerry App World
customers-accounting for 1.5 million downloads per day-the lack of a ready-made
application and content ecosystem to support the machine (the iPad launched with
several content partners) is problematic.