RIM BlackBerry PlayBook 7in tablet
A blank slate?
Review The PlayBook is described by makers RIM as the first professional-grade tablet. RIM, of course, is best known for its e-mail handset, the BlackBerry. A good deal larger and minus the distinctive keyboard, RIM’s Playbook is a handsome machine, well-designed and with great build quality.
Building bridges: RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook
The 7in display is pin-sharp and has a wide bezel, neat speakers mounted on the front edges and a tactile rubberised back. Like the iPad, the battery is sealed and it comes in similar capacities to Apple’s beauty: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.
For now, the PlayBook is Wi-Fi only – there’s no 3G version yet – and there’s no memory card expansion. Before we go any further, though, the question you may be gagging to ask is why the PlayBook doesn’t have RIM’s class-leading email on board or that feature so beloved of teenage message freaks: BlackBerry Messenger? Isn’t it a bit like Nokia launching a phone with no sim card?
Arguably, the signature product of RIM, in fact, isn’t e-mail but security. The company is obsessed with having security strong enough to completely protect sensitive, valuable business data. It excels at it, which sometimes brings it into conflict with governments who want RIM to be more accessible to them. Take that on board, and the absence makes more sense.
RIM’s stance is that the biggest leaks of data come from employees leaving laptops on trains and the like. So the PlayBook uses something called BlackBerry Bridge, an application which connects the tablet to a BlackBerry phone using Bluetooth and reads the e-mails, calendar and contacts from the handset. You can write e-mails on the tablet, but everything is saved to the phone. Nothing is left on the PlayBook once you disconnect.
BlackBerry in name rather than function
It’s actually an elegant solution which works well. But it’s not perfect. Not least, you have to have a BlackBerry phone. Mind you, current BlackBerry owners are the most likely early adopters anyway – it’s aimed directly at them. Still, patience is a virtue and RIM has announced a secure mail client will be released in the next few months, along with BBM, calendar and so on.
Next page: Touch and go
It's half finished, but might be good one day. But gets a good score?!
How can a tablet possibly justify a 75% rating, when it doesn't offer much in the way of apps and there's no native email even?
Are you going to start reviewing all products based on what they might do one day? Give buggy, unplayable games top ratings because the developers say there will be a patch in a few months?
Also, RIM's excuse for the lack of email: It's a small device and you might lose it on the train, which is a security risk. Okay, so the solution to that is to keep your email on a smaller, and even more easily lost phone. But it'll be available on the tablet soon, somehow magically fixing the problem that made it impossible at launch. This is pure bullshit if ever I heard it, it's not security related, it just wasn't finished in time.
Sure, but its good to have the option
You can use the desktop management software to handle full syncing if you like.
But the easy and fast drag-and-drop is perfect for getting a photo you've just taken off, or loading in a video before you go catch a train etc. Having the flexibility to do either is very handy
@Jemma, do TRY to do your homework
""RIM has no native email" - um excuse me, what 'native email' does iOS for TechMuppets have - Gmail - thats not a native application. iOS proper has no native email either, just varying clients."
Completely wrong. iOS has one email client that knows how to connect to different types of email servers (GMail, MS Exchange, Mobile Me, IMAP and POP3) just like, say, outlook on your desktop. The playbook doesn't know how to connect to any of these. The ONLY thing a Playbook can do is tether to a BB.
Call me when...
...they release a COMPLETE version with integrated email, contacts and security to a BES server.
Until then, it would be as unused as my ex-wifes phone number.
Re: Well, I'm sure...
"...that'll succeed as awesomely as the Palm Foleo did"
Guffaw, eh? Except that the Foleo was never released, and then the netbook surge happened despite idiot pundits claiming that nobody wanted anything less than a full-fat 10kg "runs Office on Windows" mega-laptop.
The only lesson is this: listen to common sense, not to pundits. Oh, and when learning from history, make sure you actually get the history and not someone's "did you hear...?" fiction.