In Search of a Killer Feature

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-03-22 Print this article Print


5. Apps could be a problem

RIM has said that its BlackBerry PlayBook will support applications. That's a good thing. However, the chances of RIM coming close to matching the 65,000 apps available to the iPad 2 seem awfully slim right now. Over time, RIM might be able to catch up. But until its platform can match the iPad 2 in the total number of available apps, it's probably best to skip the BlackBerry PlayBook.

6. Android-based devices are compelling

There are some folks out there who have no interest in getting an iPad 2. But rather than pick the BlackBerry PlayBook, they might be better off with an Android-based tablet. Devices like the Motorola Xoom come with Android 3.0 "Honeycomb," an operating system that bridges the gap between the desktop and mobile markets with full tabbed browsing, an Action Bar for better productivity and more. Plus, the slate of Samsung Galaxy Tab units, including one with a 10.1-inch display and another with an 8.9-inch screen, looks awfully compelling, as well. Simply put, the other iPad alternatives look to be even more impressive than the BlackBerry PlayBook.

7. The timing is off

One of the biggest issues with the BlackBerry PlayBook is the timing of its launch. The device will be made available more than a month after the iPad 2 and just weeks and months before some of its more compelling alternatives. RIM should have either released the tablet earlier or done more to impress the market and launched it later. This in-between time could come back to haunt RIM.

8. The corporate world might prefer the Cius

Though it might be the first enterprise-focused tablet to the market, the BlackBerry PlayBook won't be the last. The upcoming Cisco Cius could prove to be the device the enterprise is after. It will run Android, feature the same 7-inch display as the BlackBerry Playbook and, according to Cisco, deliver even more enterprise-friendly features. Some companies would be smart to wait and see the Cius in person before opting for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

9. It's pricey

The cheapest BlackBerry PlayBook, which includes 16GB of storage, will be on-sale for $499. Those who want the 32GB or 64GB options will need to pay $599 and $699, respectively. The only issue is, the devices are priced the same as Apple's WiFi-only iPad 2. And as mentioned above, Apple's alternative offers much more value to customers. Based on that, it would seem that the BlackBerry PlayBook is overpriced. And that won't help its sales.

10. What's the key killer feature?

Take a look at the BlackBerry PlayBook's specifications and try to find a single feature to point to that will sell customers on the device. The iPad 2 has iOS. The Motorola Xoom has its large display. The BlackBerry PlayBook has, well, nothing that can best any of the others. It's a huge issue for RIM. And it's arguably the biggest reason the average customer should skip the BlackBerry PlayBook and find something else worth buying.

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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