News Analysis: RIM is hoping that its new PlayBook tablet will appeal to consumers as well as enterprise users. But the new tablet faces daunting competition.
RIM is officially in the tablet business
The company's PlayBook tablet is designed to take on Apple's iPad and the
growing number of other competitors that are trying to capitalize on customer
interest in slates. RIM's PlayBook boasts a 7-inch display, WiFi connectivity
and a dual-core processor. According to the company, it will start selling the
device early next year.
But whether or not the RIM PlayBook will be able to stand up
against Apple's iPad and the other competition is an entirely different
question. The device might seem like a winner at first, but further inspection
reveals that it might not have what it takes. And over time, it's entirely
possible that the tablet will falter as both consumers and enterprise customers
find more viable options elsewhere. Here are 10 reasons why the RIM PlayBook
1. The screen size
RIM's decision to offer a
7-inch display in its PlayBook is a suspect one
Consumers are happy with the size of the iPad's 9.7-inch display, and that
likely won't change anytime soon. When comparing the iPad to the PlayBook,
folks might realize that, for productivity and entertainment purposes, the
larger display is more viable. And that will only hurt the PlayBook's sales.
2. Is it for consumers or the enterprise?
RIM didn't make an obvious case for whether the PlayBook is
designed for the corporate world or consumers. Although the company said the
PlayBook is for corporate users, it also showed how it handles pictures and
allows users to enjoy entertainment-two things that most companies don't want
their employees to engage in during the workday. Going forward, RIM needs to
fully determine which market it wants to exploit and focus all of its efforts
3. The marketing needs to be fixed
RIM's introductory video to the PlayBook, which shows how the
tablet works, just doesn't explain to the average customer why they should want
this device over another. It starts out with consumer-focused features and ends
with enterprise-focused features. That alone is enough to confuse folks. But
the video also failed to capture the real functionality of the device. Unless
RIM finds a way to improve its marketing for the PlayBook, it's hard to see how
the device will be successful.
4. Where's the 3G?
RIM said its tablet won't feature 3G at first, but it plans to
bring that functionality to the device at a later time. What a mistake. If RIM
really wants to target corporate customers, having 3G connectivity is a
necessity. And by not offering it out of the gate, it's leaving one of the main
selling points out of the device. RIM needs to rethink its 3G strategy. If it
doesn't, its tablet could be doomed before it even hits store shelves.