Doing the same with less
Of course, there is one really good reason why existing Flash-based web sites and apps should be tailored to the PlayBook: it's challenging to navigate a site built for a PC-based browser on a 7-inch screen using finger tips that you'd assumed for all these years were really rather dexterous.
So while, no, you don't really need a special NYT or Economist app to read those publications on the PlayBook, not having one makes their sites cramped and difficult to move through. I found just one major news site with a version of their site in App World for the PlayBook: a beta of The Huffington Post that strips out articles and reorients the design for your finger.
Somebody out there likes me: The Huffington Post built for the PlayBook
Just like a "professional grade" truck must surely need huge shocks, chunky tires, and a really big engine to deserve its title as something the boys on the building site rely on, so must a "professional-grade" tablet targeting the white-collar road warrior super-size its basic features.
RIM is going after the kinds of business users currently ushering the iPad towards enterprise success, bringing their iPads into the boardroom from their living room. Apple has succeeded in part by ensuring that the iPad works with Microsoft's Outlook while more business applications have become available through the App Store – apps such as Salesforce and SugarCRM.
To deserve the title "professional grade" against Apple, the "amateur" according to the logic of RIM's ads, then the PlayBook should do more than just work with the web we know. It needs to provide email, productivity, and business apps, and hardware that's capable of running these and other apps simultaneously - multitasking - and easily, and it must be powered by a battery that's built for some serious long-distance leg work. The PlayBook has the multitasking, so you can play music and surf the web or work on a document, but it falls down on the rest.
The lack of a local email from a company famed for communications on smart phones has been widely reported. On productivity the PlayBook does come with RIM's word, spreadsheet, and presentation documents – Word to Go, Sheet to Go, Slideshow to Go. These are compatible with Microsoft's Office so you can create or import docs, edit them, and they'll retain edits and formatting when you open them again with your regular Office on a PC.
Many features of a full Office suite are missing because of the small screen – as you'd expect. While that's acceptable for Word to Go, Sheet to Go only lets you input data and save. It didn't seem like there was a way to do anything more advanced, like calculations. It was frustrating, too, trying to land on the right field for your data using just a fingertip. A pen and piece of paper is cheaper and less hassle to carry.
A 7Digital music store makes the PlayBook a playa
Transferring documents between your PlayBook and PC requires the Blackberry Bridge to sync, so RIM is clearly assuming you're either an existing RIM user or have the profile of a soon-to-be RIM customer who'll buy the Bridge. I'm neither, and without scrambling for a thumb drive – there's a USB port in the bottom edge of the PlayBook next to an HDMI port that you can plug in to – I had to email myself documents as attachments via Gmail or Hotmail. Once downloaded to the PlayBook, the documents were marooned because the mobile versions of Gmail and Hotmail on the PlayBook don't let you upload attachments.
Next page: Battery sprint finish
The vision of Tim Berners-Lee
Has NOTHING, NOTHING to do with Flash.
It's about open data, not having it enclosed in a proprietary container be it widely used or not.
That's like saying a web made up of Word documents would follow TBL's vision. It doesn't. It's ridiculous to even suggest this.
If you want to poke at Apple's Flash stance find a better example rather than writing this garbage.
You are damned right Flash will be a major contributor to battery drain. What is often missed by tech publications is that Apple's tighter control over multitasking and ban on third party code interpretation ensures they can maintain a very tight control of the run loop. Their policy on video ensures pretty much all video viewed on the device is hardware accelerated which is much more power efficient. The multi-tasking design ensures apps which fail to conform to a tightly defined multi-tasking profile get terminated. The profiles whilst constraining still however allow you to do pretty much anything you would want to be able to do with multi-tasking, you just have to obey the rules and design your app to be a good citizen. And the policy on third party code interpreters (e.g. They aren't allowed) ensures Apple maintain adequate control over the application run loop. If the run loop is a black box running on a thread, as it would be for e.g. Flash, there is no way to be able to balance performance with control, which leads to either a bad user experience or a drain on the battery because apps don't have to obey the power and performance efficiencies Apple mandates.
The design of iOS recognizes a simple truth in life. If you put a bucket of money in the middle of the street and put a sign over it saying, this is a common resource which everyone can use, but please be respectful and only use what you need - people don't. This should be born in mind by end users whenever they read any developer criticism of Apple's constraints. Developers are on the side of taking resources from the bucket. But the bucket owner isn't Apple. It's you. It's your tablet.
CEO: "We want a serious, professional-grade tablet for the high powered executive types in the business world."
Marketdroid: "Sounds good. Why don't we call it the Playbook?"
I almost spat my sandwich onto my laptop when I read that. To be honest, I sort of skipped the rest of the article on the basis of that comment alone.
Tim Berners-Lee's current big thing is the semantic web. How on earth does a closed source proprietary plug-in help with the semantic web? AC's suggestion that this would be like a web made up of Word documents is absolutely bang on.
Adobe's fault, not Teh Steve's.
Repeating things over and over does not make them true.
Steve's famous rant against Adobe came after waiting _years_ for them to deliver a working IOS version of flash. (for that matter, a working Mac OS or Linux port would be nice. Just saying.)
When they finally gave him one, it was as buggy and CPU hogging as the rest of their non-windows implementations. Also, the UI still thought it had a mouse attached.
Hands up, anyone who's used flash on a touchscreen and found it intuitive.