Enterprise Mobility: RIM PlayBook: BlackBerry Tablet Takes a Run at Apple iPad Dominance
Research In Motion, its storied BlackBerry franchise facing challenges on multiple fronts from the likes of Apple's iPhone and Google Android devices, needs to reinvigorate its brand and establish a presence in new market segments. To that end, the company is offering up the 7-inch PlayBook tablet, which will compete with the Apple iPad, various touch-screens running Google Android, and the upcoming webOS devices from Hewlett-Packard. For business users, the PlayBook offers tight integration with BlackBerry devices, handsome hardware, front- and rear-facing cameras, and security. As a consumer device, though, RIM may have some distance to cover before it can truly become a tablet competitor on the scale of Apple or Samsung. For starters, the collection of apps available for the PlayBook remains smallcertainly much smaller than the hundreds of thousands of apps available for both the Apple and Google platforms. Second, the lack of native apps for email and calendar could dissuade those users who don't own a BlackBerry. RIM is promising future software updates that will tweak bugs and add new features but in the meantime risks the PlayBook being seen as half-baked or unfinished. That being said, the PlayBook looks and feels unique, thanks to its QNX-based operating system. RIM also decided to make the case touch-sensitive, with menus reacting to any finger-flicking along the device's edges. The PlayBook may be suffering some mixed early reviews, but at least RIM's offering something that's not cookie-cutter.