It’s been one of the most anticipated technology announcements of the year. As soon as Apple reinvigorated the Tablet computer market, it was obvious that others would jump in and who better to challenge juggernaut of Apple than the only one beating it in the smartphone market, Blackberry.
A few months ago the idea of ‘Blackpad’ was put out there and instantly started trending on sites like Twitter. Today we learnt more, and thank heavens it’s not called the ‘Blackpad’, but the new name is almost as bad. For a device which is marketing itself as ‘The rofessional tablet computer’, is ‘Playbook’ really the best name? I seriously thought Blackberry had announced a new kids version of their device when I first heard the name this morning. But no, this is the actual tablet’s name.
I know name is not everything and we must take each product on it;s actual merits rather than something so insignificant. But be honest, as a business person, would you rather claim to own a Playbook or an iPad… hmmm.
But as I said, name isn’t everything, and it seems RIM (the makers of Blackberry) have been looking very closely at Apple’s iPad and more importantly what they left out. For example, the iPad has no camera’s whereas Playbook has two, allowing you to video conference in a similar way to iPhone 4’s Facetime.
When it comes to multimedia ports, the Playbook boasts both a micro USB jack and an HDMI port so you can watch yourvideos on the TV. The iPad will give you neither of these instead only providing Apple’s own media dock port. The size is quite different also, with the iPad having a bulky 9.7″ screen whilst the Playbook has a more convenient but also limited 7″ screen.
The Playbook is also running a brand new OS from RIM designed specifically for the new device which claims can do multitasking like no other device. From videos posted around the internet, the multitasking aspect does indeed look very good and simpler than Apple’s solution, but with no-one actually having tested the device, we’re going to have to wait to find out if it’s as it looks.
One thing which may hurt the Playbook’s launch is it’s lack of 3G meaning you are limited to utilising Wi-Fi networks for the internet. You can tether the Playbook to an existing Blackberry smartphone’s 3G, but that does kind of scream what’s the point to me… just use the phone!
I also have to say the whole business marketing plan confuses me slightly. I know Blackberry have always been seen as the professional option, but at the same time, I see nothing (except video conferencing) which the Playbook can bring to business that the iPad can’t. I also think the name will seriously go against them here.
Blackberry will release the Playbook early next year and look to become the first manufacturer to truly rival Apple in the Tablet market. But with other tech companies like Google, Samsung and Microsoft all planning Tablets and Apple’s revision of the iPad expected early next year, it could be an uphill struggle for the Playbook.
See the advert for the PlayBook below: