Lack of Apps Could Hold Back PlayBook

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-09-28 Print this article Print


5. The unproven track record 

RIM is a wildly successful smartphone company. But when it comes to delivering an experience that customers really want, the company has been falling short as of late. In fact, its Storm2 smartphone is arguably one of the worst touch-screen-based devices on the market from a major company. RIM has a lot to prove with its PlayBook. And if that device doesn't deliver, potential buyers will be quick to pass it by. 

6. Browsing plays a role 

RIM's browsers have been abysmal over the years. As most folks who own BlackBerry devices know, trying to surf through a Web page on the company's smartphones is far more difficult than it should be. RIM has promised that the browsing experience on the PlayBook will be much better, but that assurance won't be enough. The PlayBook needs to be the standard by which all other tablet browsers are judged. That's simply the only way that customers will be happy with RIM's offering. 

7. It's all about apps 

Customers want applications for their tablets. They want to be able to take a product and extend its functionality with programs created by third parties. That could be a problem for RIM, since the company has had a somewhat contentious relationship with developers over the past couple years. RIM needs to bring a slew of apps to its tablet. If it doesn't, or if it comes down too hard on developers, its tablet might not be around for long. 

8. The timing is off 

RIM has made a mistake by planning to release its tablet at the beginning of 2011. Not only does it give competing devices time to capitalize on the holiday shopping season, but it also puts RIM's tablet in the danger zone of being overlooked due to a new iPad. Most believe Apple will release a new version of its iPad sometime before the middle of next year. And Steve Jobs will likely announce it weeks before that. If that happens too closely to the PlayBook's launch, RIM's tablet could see its sales stunted by growing desire for Apple's offering. 

9. The Cisco Cius looms 

If RIM decides that the enterprise really is the market that it needs to capitalize on, the company will find a major competitor already there: the Cisco Cius. Announced earlier this year, the Cius will run Android OS and integrate with existing Cisco infrastructure. It was the first corporate-focused tablet announced, and it will likely be available in early 2011. And by the looks of things, it has some real promise. RIM will have to contend with that competitor. 

10. The iPad is still here 

Let's not forget that the iPad is still on store shelves and it's the device that the vast majority of tablet customers seem to want. Realizing that, it's likely that most folks will still opt for Apple's device as memories of the PlayBook fade through the holiday shopping season. The iPad gets the most attention, and it's already available. That simply doesn't bode well for RIM or any of its other competitors that are trying desperately to capitalize on the market Apple has carved out. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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