RIM's PlayBook Attracting Developers, But Lags Behind iPad: Survey

RIM's PlayBook is attracting increased developer interest, but lags behind both the iPad and Android tablets in a new survey by Appcelerator and IDC.

Developers are increasingly interested in Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook platform, at least according to new survey data posted by Appcelerator and research firm IDC. However, that same data suggests the iPad and Android tablets continue to dominate developers' attention.

Appcelerator and IDC surveyed some 2,235 Appcelerator Titanium developers earlier in January on "perceptions surrounding mobile OS priorities, feature priorities, and mobile development plans in 2011," according to a note posted on Appcelerator's Website.

Based on 1,971 developers' responses, the percentage "very interested" in developing for the PlayBook platform has increased from 16 percent in September 2010 to 28 percent this month. By contrast, interest in developing for the iPad rose from 84 percent to 87 percent during that same period. Interest in Android tablets bumped from 62 percent to 74 percent.

In other words, despite that accelerating interest in the PlayBook, the platform continues to lag behind most competing tablets-except for the still-hypothetical devices running Palm webOS, which placed last among tablets with 16 percent "very interested."

Hewlett-Packard, which acquired Palm in 2010, has yet to announce any tablets running the operating system, although it is expected to do so at a Feb. 9 event. Rumors are also circulating that HP plans on introducing a netbook running webOS, in addition to tablets and smartphones.

Competition with tablets is due to increase exponentially throughout the rest of 2011. In addition to the next-generation iPad expected to debut sometime in the next few months, manufacturers ranging from Toshiba to Motorola have Android-based tablets in the works. Seeking to differentiate itself within that crowded field, RIM plans on marketing the PlayBook as a device with particular appeal to the enterprise, a longtime customer base for the BlackBerry franchise.

The publication DigiTimes recently suggested that both Motorola and RIM have placed substantial tablet orders with their Taiwanese component makers. RIM will launch a WiFi-only version of the PlayBook this quarter, with a 4G-enabled version available via Sprint by summer.

Consultancy firm Deloitte recently estimated tablet shipments in 2011 at 50 million units, ahead of research firm IDC's predictions of 44.6 million units for the year. "Although some commentators view tablets as underpowered media-consumption toys suitable only for consumers," Deloitte reportedly wrote in its annual sector forecast, "in 2011, more than 25 percent of all tablet computers will be bought by enterprises, and that figure is likely to rise in 2012 and beyond."