RIM’s PlayBook tablet is scheduled to hit store shelves early next year. In that time, it’s possible that the company will offer up several new features that it hasn’t talked about yet. But for now, critics and supporters of the device alike need make do with what they know-and that means a device that, for many, just won’t live up to expectations.
However, there are several products on the market that are doing a good job of matching customer desires. Ranging from tablets to smartphones to operating systems, these products could quite easily derail RIM‘s PlayBook, and marginalize its impact in the market. Here’s a look at some of the devices and technologies that could outplay the RIM PlayBook.
1. Apple’s iPad
RIM is targeting Apple‘s iPad with its PlayBook, but that certainly doesn’t mean that the company is capable of taking it down. In fact, it seems highly likely that the iPad is the device that could most easily hurt sales of RIM’s PlayBook. Not only is the iPad a hit with consumers, but Apple’s tablet is also gaining some ground in the enterprise.
2. Cisco Cius
The Cisco Cius is the other enterprise-focused tablet in the space. It will run Android OS and will sport a 7-inch display when it launches early next year. Exactly how well that product will sell is anyone’s guess. But due to its ability to integrate with existing Cisco infrastructure, it could prove to be a major thorn in RIM’s side as the latter tries to situate its tablet to the corporate world.
3. BlackBerry Torch
It might not seem obvious, but RIM’s own BlackBerry Torch could hurt its PlayBook’s sales. After all, in this economy, where companies are still loath to overspend, already having one device that works with BlackBerry Enterprise Server certainly sounds better than having to have two products. The BlackBerry Torch is arguably RIM’s best smartphone right now, and many companies might opt for that smartphone alone, rather than for the tablet too.
4. BlackBerry Storm2
If it’s a BlackBerry with a touch screen enterprise customers are after, then they can always opt for the BlackBerry Storm2. That device might not come close to matching the quality of other smartphones, but it delivers the touch-screen experience that some folks are looking for. Plus, it will likely turn out to be cheaper than the PlayBook, though it’s impossible to know that for sure until RIM announces the tablet’s pricing. Regardless, the Storm2 could be a fine alternative to the PlayBook.
RIM Built Its Own Barriers to PlayBook Success
5. Dell Streak
The 5-inch Dell Streak is arguably one of the least useful tablets on the market. But in the coming weeks and months, Dell plans to offer 7- and 10-inch versions. When those products launch, it could drastically change how Dell’s tablets are viewed by customers. For RIM, that could be trouble, considering how highly respected and entrenched Dell is in the enterprise.
6. HP’s future tablets
HP is undoubtedly working on tablets to take on Apple’s iPad in the consumer space and the RIM PlayBook in the enterprise. In fact, its recent acquisition of Palm indicates that it might be planning to use WebOS in its line of devices, in addition to a planned Windows-based Slate. Either way, a strong showing from HP’s Windows-based tablet could be the death knell for the PlayBook in the enterprise. After all, most companies would likely choose a Windows-based device over one with BlackBerry’s operating system.
7. RIM’s new OS
Speaking of that new operating system, it’s tough to say whether or not RIM will deliver what companies are looking for. And it’s possible that its functionality could drive customers away to other operating systems that deliver more of what they’re looking for. Clearly there is a lot riding on the PlayBook’s operating system, which leave RIM in a position where it can‘t make a mistake.
8. Android OS
Android OS is poised to take on Apple’s iOS in the tablet space. In fact, the operating system is coming to a slew of new tablets in the coming months. As that happens, it might be hard for the PlayBook to overcome Android’s success. After all, Google’s operating system has been beating RIM’s BlackBerry OS handily in the smartphone space. Why would anyone think it won’t’ do the same in the tablet market?
9. Apple’s App Store
Third-party applications mean more in the post-iPhone world than ever before. That’s especially true in the tablet space. Realizing that, Apple’s App Store could easily derail RIM’s PlayBook. After all, the iPad is a proven device that developers want to spend time writing programs for. The PlayBook has months before it’s released, and RIM hasn’t always shown it cares about mobile apps as much as it should. However, consumers and enterprise customers want apps, and if they get more from Apple’s App Store, they will opt for the iPad, for sure.
10. RIM PlayBook
It might sound odd to include the PlayBook itself in a roundup of products that could derail it, but the reality is, RIM‘s tablet could very well be the reason its tablet business fails. Out of the box, the tablet lacks 3G; includes a small, 7-inch display; and features a new operating system that might or might not appeal to users. Simply put, there is a lot riding on the success of the PlayBook. Some glaring omissions and inopportune choices could turn out to be the main reason RIM’s tablet strategy bites the dust.