BlackBerry Playbook: I'll believe it when I see it

BlackBerry Playbook: I'll believe it when I see it

Summary: The BlackBerry Playbook is being touted as the big rival to the iPad but has anyone actually seen it in action?


On the day that Research in Motion unveiled the BlackBerry Playbook, a 7-inch tablet PC that is being touted as an iPad rival, Larry Dignan and I had an interesting back-and-forth conversation later in the day about the actual device itself.

At one point, one of us suggested that the news itself was very Microsoft-like: bring it up on stage, show cool videos about what it will do and then say that it's coming soon, a time in the not-too-far, but just-far-enough distance for customers to pause before buying the competitor's product.

That's when it all started to make sense. Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis brought a Playbook on stage but he didn't take a seat in a leather chair and start playing with it the way Steve Jobs did when he introduced the iPad.

And then there was that video, the one that was played before Lazaridis actually announced it. Not once, did it actually show the tablet in use. It was a nice video and showed some cool stuff - it just didn't show the device doing it. In fact, the video didn't show the device at all - until the last 20 seconds or so. And for most of that time, it didn't show anything on the screen either. Play the clip and be your own judge.

Even the demos after the event itself didn't offer a "hands-on" run-through. The blog posted a video of its hands-on, which was more of a hands-on-the-glass that it was locked behind. Ah, special effects and modern video technology. It can make us believe anything.

I know. Crazy theory, right? But now there are others out there who are also thinking it. Student/blogger Justice Conder posted an entry yesterday titled "The BlackBerry Playbook doesn't exist" - and it's starting to make the rounds on Twitter, as it should. The entry is a good one, complete with four videos that go to the heart of proving his point and he makes a very convincing argument.

I hate to keep making the comparison to Apple but it really becomes important to do. With Apple, you see the product, you touch the product and even when you can't actually buy the product that day - which rarely happens - Apple gives you an exact date. You rarely, if ever, hear a "First quarter of next year" for a release date.

A couple of other random thoughts floated around to further feed this crazy thought process. How much will the Playbook cost? No one has said a word about pricing. Will it be comparable to the iPad? Cheaper? More expensive? And how about that battery life? Got any specs? Will it do better in some conditions than others?

I'm excited as the next guy to get my hands on the Playbook and I remain optimistic that RIM will deliver on its promise. But it is very convenient how this has played out. RIM's "coming soon" announcement might just prompt CIOs to pause and maybe re-think their tablet strategies, especially as they finalize next year's budgets.

Topics: BlackBerry, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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  • Inferior screen, way shorter batter life -- **no way** "big rival" to iPad

    <b>iPad has advantages which can not be beaten by any Playbook, Galaxy Tab or WeeTab yet</b>:<br>1) way better batter life;<br>2) IPS display;<br>3) bigger display;<br>4) dedicated OS for tablet-size devices.<br><br>None of it is there for those iPad "killers". And USB ports and cameras are not going to help them since those are far secondary advantages comparing to iPad ones like much better battery life, IPS screen and dedicated OS (not a giant phone UI).
    • RE: BlackBerry Playbook: I'll believe it when I see it

      @denisrs the iPad is used in Baseball?
    • The smaller screen is not necessarily "inferior" ...

      @denisrs ... and besides, I have not been terribly impressed with iPad battery life. Blackberry Battry Life is excellent and RIM will have a real challenege on their hands if they cannot match it ont he PlayBook. To me, the missing piece for the iPad is decent RDP access to my desktops at work and at home. If the PlayBook can address those challeneges, and if it can reliably deliver BES services, it will have a real leg up on the iPad for the road warrior.
      M Wagner
      • Playbook's screen is inferior, because no IPS

        @mwagner@... : that is serious thing.

        Also, the battery life of Playbook is way shorter than for iPad.

        As to RDP, there are countless of applications for that for the iPad, no one complains actually because everyone can find exactly variant suitable.
      • LMAO.. i did a quick search and found 55.. citrix, many vnc variants etc..

        @mwagner@... you want to tell me that the citrix client for iPad doesn't meet to your standard.. LOL... you just did look.. what a joke.. LOL.. there are also 45 iPad specific remote desktop clients as well..
      • Wyse Pocket Cloud is a very good RDP client for ipad...

        I'm actually a RIM/BB supporter myself, but one of my colleagues deals with a client that deploys a lot of iPads and he won't stop talking about this PocketCloud app. I have to admit after trying it that it is a great adaptation of RDP for tablet. I hope that it becomes available for Playbook as I've pre-ordered one already!
    • RE: BlackBerry Playbook: I'll believe it when I see it

      How's that Kool Aid tasting today?

      You know nothing about the battery life on this device.
      • It is the same "up to 6 hours"

        @Droid101: which is no competition to iPad.
      • Right...battery life hasn't been discussed

        @Droid101 These comments, like this article, are just as much, if not more, intangible than the PlayBook.
  • RE: BlackBerry Playbook: I'll believe it when I see it

    The funny thing is they are getting all kinds of free press and ads. Maybe they aren't so dumb after all.
    • RE: BlackBerry Playbook: I'll believe it when I see it

      @ItsTheBottomLine :) :) :)
      Trep Ford
    • free press

      they are not dumb. that's for sure, but liars. they don't have a product, just a fancy concept video. deception and lies, that's all they have and the tech press falls for another vaporware ploy. amazing, every time.
      banned from zdnet
      • RE: BlackBerry Playbook: I'll believe it when I see it

        @banned from zdnet ...."liars,, as in "You're holding the phone wrong?"
        Feldwebel Wolfenstool
  • You must be geniuses

    You read my mind exactly.
  • All very interesting ...

    ... and I agree that Apple is far better at introducing new gedgats than anyone else on the planet (and it is likely to remain so as long as Jobs is at the helm).

    In order to stay ahead of Apple, though, RIM has to do more. The PlayBook needs to be less expesnive than the iPad. It has to have a functioning APP store (preferably not under the complete control of the carrier). And, it has to seamlessly integrate with BES (and provide seamless RDP services to the enterprise desktop).
    M Wagner
  • RE: BlackBerry Playbook: I'll believe it when I see it

    OK. Sam, very good observation; let's assume that you are right on all what? It's by no means a very clever, highly effective, super frugal marketing campaign. Hats off to RIM! As far as your comparison goes ...Apple is Apple, Microsoft is Microsoft and RIM is RIM...each has its own unique and distinct ways of doing things. So get over it!
    • distinct ways

      you mean to claim they have a product when in reality they only have a concept video and thus lying to the public is the way of rim?
      banned from zdnet
      • RE: BlackBerry Playbook: I'll believe it when I see it

        @banned from zdnet You're really squirming, are'nt you?
        Feldwebel Wolfenstool
      • BfZ doesn't like anything or anybody

        @banned from zdnet NFC
  • Its about the Enterprise

    We can't use the iPad because it simiply isn't for the enterprise. I know, I'll get arguments, but in reality, you can't. Not secure enough. The Playbook is being presented as something I will be willing to bring it, test, and hopefully get it out to my sales and marketing folks to help in their efforts. Security, integration with BES, Flash, and all that, these are the things that we've been waiting for in a tablet. I could care less if you can read a book on it.