RIM's PlayBook has some problematic timing

Summary:Research in Motion's PlayBook is far from being ready for primetime, but the biggest problem for the tablet will be timing. The PlayBook will compete with iPad 2 and next-gen Android tablets.

Research in Motion's PlayBook is far from being ready for primetime, but the biggest problem for the tablet will be timing.

RIM's developer powwow on Wednesday illustrated a lot of shortcomings. Developer kits will arrive in January and February and BlackBerry's apps aren't likely to be readily available at launch. In the early going the PlayBook is all about Adobe AIR, which leaves its Java-oriented developers on the outside. And then there's the fact that you'll need a BlackBerry to tether to the PlayBook to get enterprise email. Should you really have to connect a BlackBerry to a PlayBook?

Toss in the reality that the PlayBook is largely demoware and you have more than a few issues to ponder.

But the real reason to fret about the PlayBook's prospects boils down to timing. The PlayBook is likely to be available just as the second generation iPad hits the market along with more Android tablets, which will feature the latest mobile operating system from Google.

Simply put, the PlayBook is launching into fierce competition and there are enough question marks about the tablet to fall on the pessimistic side.

Sure, there are interesting demos to watch. But these demos are seriously canned. Boy Genius Report shows off one. If you were one of the developers to grab the PlayBook it wasn't like you could click on any random icon.

If the PlayBook could hit the market earlier it would garner more developer interest and perhaps find a more receptive audience. For now there are way too many parts that need to fall into place.


Topics: Laptops, BlackBerry, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets, Developer


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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