RIM's PlayBook Tablet Will Falter: 10 Reasons Why

News Analysis: RIM is hoping that its new PlayBook tablet will appeal to consumers as well as enterprise users. But the new tablet faces daunting competition.

RIM is officially in the tablet business. The company's PlayBook tablet is designed to take on Apple's iPad and the growing number of other competitors that are trying to capitalize on customer interest in slates. RIM's PlayBook boasts a 7-inch display, WiFi connectivity and a dual-core processor. According to the company, it will start selling the device early next year.

But whether or not the RIM PlayBook will be able to stand up against Apple's iPad and the other competition is an entirely different question. The device might seem like a winner at first, but further inspection reveals that it might not have what it takes. And over time, it's entirely possible that the tablet will falter as both consumers and enterprise customers find more viable options elsewhere. Here are 10 reasons why the RIM PlayBook will falter.

1. The screen size

RIM's decision to offer a7-inch display in its PlayBook is a suspect one. Consumers are happy with the size of the iPad's 9.7-inch display, and that likely won't change anytime soon. When comparing the iPad to the PlayBook, folks might realize that, for productivity and entertainment purposes, the larger display is more viable. And that will only hurt the PlayBook's sales.

2. Is it for consumers or the enterprise?

RIM didn't make an obvious case for whether the PlayBook is designed for the corporate world or consumers. Although the company said the PlayBook is for corporate users, it also showed how it handles pictures and allows users to enjoy entertainment-two things that most companies don't want their employees to engage in during the workday. Going forward, RIM needs to fully determine which market it wants to exploit and focus all of its efforts there-or else.

3. The marketing needs to be fixed

RIM's introductory video to the PlayBook, which shows how the tablet works, just doesn't explain to the average customer why they should want this device over another. It starts out with consumer-focused features and ends with enterprise-focused features. That alone is enough to confuse folks. But the video also failed to capture the real functionality of the device. Unless RIM finds a way to improve its marketing for the PlayBook, it's hard to see how the device will be successful.

4. Where's the 3G?

RIM said its tablet won't feature 3G at first, but it plans to bring that functionality to the device at a later time. What a mistake. If RIM really wants to target corporate customers, having 3G connectivity is a necessity. And by not offering it out of the gate, it's leaving one of the main selling points out of the device. RIM needs to rethink its 3G strategy. If it doesn't, its tablet could be doomed before it even hits store shelves.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...