RIM Defends BlackBerry PlayBook Battery Life

RIM responded to reports that its PlayBook is delayed due to battery woes, saying that it's on track with its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBooks battery life.

Defending its BlackBerry PlayBook, Research In Motion released a statement Dec. 30, responding to reports that the PlayBook still has some battery issues to work out.

The reports followed from a Dec. 28 research note from Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. "One... issue we hear the PlayBook needs to improve is its relatively poor battery life of a few hours, compared to 6 hours for the Samsung Galaxy Tab and 20 hours for the iPad," Wu wrote, adding that the issue could require some additional engineering and likely be why RIM has pushed out its launch to the second quarter of 2011.

Not exactly denying that RIM is working on the performance of the PlayBooks battery, as much as saying it's on top of the matter, RIM Media Relations responded:

"Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented. RIM is on track with its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBook's battery life and looks forward to providing customers with a professional grade tablet that offers superior performance with comparable battery life."

RIM introduced the PlayBook at its annual DevCon conference in September. Featuring a 7-inch display, running an OS based on QNX technology, and offering WiFi and 3G connectivity via a BlackBerry smartphone, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis called it the industry's first enterprise-ready tablet. And while its enterprise bent does set it apart a bit in the increasingly crowded tablet market, the PlayBooks main competitor will nonetheless be the Apple iPad, the holder more than 90 percent of the worlds tablet market share.

To view images of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, click here.

While some iPad testers run hotter and cooler than others, a feature that few quibble with is its super-duper battery life. The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, testing the iPad for the paper, found the iPad's battery to actually outlast even Apples estimate for it by more than an hour.

In his research note, Wu additionally told investors that his firm expects RIM to sell approximately 700,000 PlayBooks in 2011, despite other published estimates coming in between 1 million and 8 million units.

As we have said before, wrote Wu, we are not convinced that tablets outside of the iPad will see high volume success.

In a Dec. 29 report, DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim described the iPad's success as owing to the combination of its strong hardware, operating system and vast application ecosystem adding that Apple hardly started from square one with the iPad, as Apple CEO Steve Jobs has also said, in so many words, but with the iPad leverages the successes of the iPhone.

"We believe that the main competitors to the iPad," wrote Shim, "will be the ones investing in a unique experience."