News Analysis: Research In Motion is launching its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet next month. But the PlayBook looks pricey compared to the competition and it lacks a decisive feature advantage.
Research In Motion has finally unveiled the final details on its upcoming
tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook. The device will launch on April 19 at a
starting price of $499 for 16GB of storage. Those who wish to have 32GB or 64GB
of storage will be set back $599 or $699, respectively.
With the launch details now nailed down, the time has come for both
consumers and enterprise customers to start thinking about whether or not the
BlackBerry PlayBook really is for them. On one hand, the device seems to be a
fine alternative to Apple's iPad 2 or the Motorola Xoom. But after further
inspection, the BlackBerry PlayBook seems to leave much to be desired. And for
the most part, customers will be disappointed by what they find.
At this point, it doesn't seem that the BlackBerry PlayBook is a must-have.
Read on to find out why:
1. The iPad 2 is better
the iPad 2 to the BlackBerry PlayBook
, and it's hard to choose the latter.
For one, the iPad 2 comes with a larger screen size. It also has an operating
system that the market knows quite well. Moreover, the iPad 2 comes with 3G
connectivity built-in. In far too many ways, the iPad 2 trumps RIM's
alternative. And for many customers, that's enough for them to choose Apple's
2. The 4G option is coming
Why should customers opt for the WiFi-only BlackBerry PlayBook when they
know that 4G versions that are capable of connecting to LTE and HSPA+ networks
will launch later this year? In order to connect to the Web while on-the-go
with the soon-to-be-launched PlayBook, users must tether the device to a
BlackBerry. It's not convenient, and that could prove to be a liability for
3. The 7-inch display is a problem
Small displays are a problem in today's mobile marketplace. Yes, RIM is
saying that the 7-inch screen on the BlackBerry PlayBook will help make the
device more mobile for enterprise customers. But, that's not likely to convince
buyers in either the enterprise or consumer markets. Larger displays make all
the difference in the tablet space. It's why Apple has a 9.7-inch display and
the Motorola Xoom comes with a 10.1-inch screen. As Apple CEO
Steve Jobs noted in an earnings call last year, 7-inch displays just don't cut
it in the tablet space.
4. Will the enterprise like the OS?
has said that the BlackBerry PlayBook is designed with enterprise customers in
. But perhaps the company should re-examine its focus. The corporate
world is resistant to change, and it likes working with a known quantity. The
BlackBerry PlayBook will run QNX Software's Tablet OS. It's an operating system
that has yet to be used in the wild. And although RIM has said that testers are
happy with it, the corporate world will be suspect of a brand-new operating
system. Unfortunately for RIM, it probably should be.