Reviewers slam BlackBerry PlayBook software
No BB messages without your smartphone attached
Research in Motion launched the BlackBerry PlayBook in the States last night, and with it reviewers' non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) have expired. What they are saying does not inspire confidence.
The hardware meets with approval, but is being let down by RIM's software.
The key case for the prosecution: no on-board email, a stark absence given that's the very function that made BlackBerry a household word.
RIM has promised that the PlayBook will get email during a system update later this year, timed to tie in with the release of a version of the tablet that will contain a cellular network modem.
In the meantime, buyers can use a new tool, BlackBerry Bridge, to hook tablet to smartphone and use the latter's 3G link to grab secure email. Bridge creates a protected link between the two devices and presents smartphone apps on the tablet screen.
It's a technically impressive tool, some reveiwers say, but almost all of them condemn its lack of user friendliness. Why not simply route the secure email over Wi-Fi through a virtual private network (VPN)?
The PlayBook doesn't do BlackBerry Messenger, either.
The 425g PlayBook's 7in 1024 x 600 screen is good, as is its browser's ability to handle Adobe Flash. It has an HDMI port for telly connectivity. It has a full 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi radio. Bluetooth too. There's a 3Mp webcam and a 5Mp photo camera on the back.
The PlayBook goes on sale in the US on Tuesday, 19 April. RIM hasn't said when the tablet will debut in the UK. ®
And another one bites the dust
Seriously Apple must be laughing there heads off, over a year and still no decent competitors!
Agree but disagree
I see what you're saying but I'd say the counter and still agree with you.
Apple make compromises and omissions that their core target market don't care *too much* about. By doing so they deliver price, performance and features that suit 80-90% of users.
I think it's the case that others now scrambling on the tablet bandwagon try too hard - must have an SD slot, must have HDMI out, must have blah blah... The upshot is that there's increased complexity and vague marketing.
All these extras are great and maybe essential to the vast majority of commenters on here, but it just adds confusion to the core tablet market, which certainly doesn't seem to be techies.
Actually, it looks to me like the tablet market is going to mature in exactly the same way as the PC market did - Apple providing a somewhat simpler and more restricted approach with Google (formerly read Microsoft) chasing low margin, volume and niche market positions.
The difference this time seems to be that Apple have might have learned from the great feck up that was their surrender of the desktop market and will end up with a steady 20-30% of a market (and probably 60-70% of the reasonably profitable market) rather than 5-10% as they did with desktops.
The danger of rushing to the bottom like this is that hardware manufacturers end up as busy fools with little or no margin to be earned.
You can see why the iPad is selling, you really can't expect a competitor to beat the iPad unless it either does everything better or does more or costs significantly less.
In the case of the Playbook it does less and will lack the refinement that a established product provides (iPad is on second revision now), so you can argue it does things worse.
Perhaps the Apple haters out there will realise why the iPad sells like it does? it's not all fanboy-ism, it is because the competition make too many compromises and omissions and also can't get the flipping price right either!
Quite sad really ...
At the outset, let me say I own neither a tablet, nor any iOS or Android devices (yet) - nor RIM device. I will be in the market for a new smartphone later this year and then it will probably be an Android (HTC Sense skinned) or the latest iPhone 5 by then. (In case you are wondering, I have a Nokia E72, which is my 1st - and will probably be my last Nokia)
Currently, I grapple with the use-cases for owning a tablet. Money being no object, I would probably have bought an iPad 2 by now. I have played with both iPads (1 and 2), the Samsung Tab and the Blackberry playbook back at MWC in Barcelona earlier this year.
Of these, my percpetion is that the iPAD is the most polished, but that the RIM had the most potential with by far the best and most flexible (but still easy to use) OS and UI (IMHO) by a long shot!
VERY SADLY .... I think RIM have been either stupid or greedy or both!
They have tried to launch this to either upsell to their existing customer base - or thought that they could force people to buy a blackberry as well.
In doing so, they have ignored thier 2 USP's.
1. As GIles Jones pointed out, they have push-email wrapped up
2. BBM. It is arguable that this is the one item that has kept RIM in the smartphone market!
This should have had proper 3G connectivity from the get-go and its own email / BBM client.
The excuse trotted out months ago was around security. I don't buy that! Having email on it is NOT a security risk or an issue for corporate policies otherwise they would not allow email on any smartphone or laptop for that matter. This is so patently obvious that I think this was more greed than stupidity.
* PS. In a sense the cirticisms are unfair as the iPad 1 was missing a lot of 'should have been' features at the launch. The difference, is as a pioneer with a new value proposition you can get away with missign features. As a late-to-market offering, you need (1) your unique value proposition, and (2) you won't be forgiven the glaring ommisions.
I have to agree with the posters above
at least as far as this slab goes; a Blackberry with no email? What idiot thought that was a good idea?