BlackBerry PlayBook Distinct from the Crowd

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-01-06 Print this article Print


5. Choosing Sprint makes sense

Some might wonder why RIM decided to bring its 4G tablet to Sprint's network rather than, say, Verizon's. As one might expect, RIM isn't saying why. Further inspection, however, reveals that it might make some sense. Sprint currently has 4G available in approximately 71 markets-nearly double what Verizon is offering right now. That lead could be gone by the end of 2011. But as Verizon adds more cities to its 4G service, Sprint will do the same. Simply put, opting to work closely with the current market leader appears to be the right thing to do.

6. Consider tethering

As mentioned, the BlackBerry 4G PlayBook only includes 4G and Wi-Fi connectivity support. It won't ship with 3G built-in. But RIM has a solution: Users can tether their BlackBerry smartphones to the device to access a 3G network from the tablet. Is it the best solution? No. But it's another option, and, given how heavily invested the corporate world is in BlackBerry smartphones, the functionality should be enough for enterprise customers to opt for that product rather than a competing tablet.

7. It won't run Android

Android is all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. But the customers RIM is targeting-enterprise users-aren't all that keen on that mobile OS. In fact, Android lacks the kind of corporate appeal right now that even Apple's iOS platform has, due to concerns over security and IT control. That could change with updates to the OS this year, but, at least for now, it's a good thing that RIM's tablet is running its own operating system. The mobile company is trusted by the enterprise, and it can capitalize on that.

8. Enterprise features galore

The BlackBerry 4G PlayBook will boast several enterprise features when it launches later this year. In addition to the connectivity options, PlayBook comes with access to BlackBerry Enterprise Server. It also will provide IT managers with more management features than they're accustomed to on other tablets. The BlackBerry 4G PlayBook should combine the enterprise-friendly features of a BlackBerry smartphone with the convenience of a tablet. That could benefit RIM greatly.

9. There's nothing quite like it

Uniqueness is integral to the success of any device in the technology industry, and if the BlackBerry 4G PlayBook is anything, it's unique. It combines 4G connectivity, something that is sorely lacking in the tablet space, with a level of enterprise functionality that could be difficult to match by the competition. Will the BlackBerry 4G PlayBook be more successful than the iPad? Not a chance. But it's not meant to be. Its uniqueness will help it stand out and be a success in the corporate market, not necessarily in the consumer space.

10. It has one main competitor

So far, RIM's BlackBerry 4G PlayBook has one worrisome competitor: the Cisco Cius. That device will ship with Android and feature the ability to integrate with existing Cisco network infrastructure in the enterprise. Other than that, RIM isn't facing much competition for corporate dollars. The iPad is always a consideration, but it's still a consumer device. Considering RIM has just one main competitor to beat, its chances of being a success are much higher than it is for multiple Android-based devices hoping for a piece of the finite market share Apple hasn't already taken with its iPad. 

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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