CES: Can the RIM BB PlayBook succeed with need for a BlackBerry smartphone companion?

Summary:People are getting hands-on time with the BB PlayBook tablet device at CES and discovering that you need a BB smartphone paired up with it to access all of the functionality. Can a limited tablet like this succeed?

CES 2011

RIM revealed their BlackBerry PlayBook back in September, but it was under glass and there were a lot of unanswered questions. Folks are getting to spend lots of time with it at CES this week and after reading articles from Gizmodo and CrackBerry.com I can safely cross the RIM BB PlayBook off of my list of possible device purchases primarily due to the Foleo-like requirement for a BlackBerry device to get the full functionality, including calendar, email, BB Messenger.

I was doubtful RIM would ever launch a tablet device and then when we heard the news in September I was actually a bit excited about it and the new QNX-based BB Tablet OS. I know that RIM still has a major piece of the smartphone marketshare in the US, but without some major updates to the UI I just don't see that growing as fast as iOS, Android, and others. Many companies issue BlackBerry devices, but will they purchase a PlayBook too. It seems to me that a device with the word "play" in it and a heavy focus on media is not very appealing to businesses. Don't business issue BlackBerry devices primarily for the reliable email experience? I know all of the friends I see who have BlackBerry devices from work are a generation or two behind in smartphones as companies need to make sure they are configured just right.

Is there a market for a limited tablet device like the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook?

Topics: Laptops, BlackBerry, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets


Matthew Miller started using mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host, with ZDNet's Kevin Tofel, of the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned more than 2... Full Bio

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