BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

Summary: Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook appears to be a promising yet flawed---almost unfinished---device and the reviews are so-so. But there's enough there to defend the enterprise.

SHARE:

Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook appears to be a promising yet flawed---almost unfinished---device and the reviews are so-so. Nevertheless, there are enough goodies to keep corporate customers interested.

Among the key takeaways:

  • Walt Mossberg, WSJ: "RIM says it is planning to add built-in cellular data, email, contacts, calendar and the other missing core features to the PlayBook this summer, via software updates. But until then, I can’t recommend the PlayBook over a fully standalone tablet, except possibly for folks whose BlackBerrys never leave their sides."
  • David Pogue, New York Times: "For now, the PlayBook’s motto might be, “There’s no app for that.” No existing apps run on this all-new operating system, not even BlackBerry phone apps. (R.I.M. says an emulator that will run BlackBerry apps will come later this year.)"
  • Tim Stevens, Engadget: "Running the show is a dual-core, 1GHz TI OMAP processor that's expertly massaged and manipulated by the QNX OS here. QNX is a decidedly efficient and bulletproof operating system that powers everything from jet fighters to, well, little black tablets."
  • Mark Spoonauer, Laptop Mag: "The BlackBerry Tablet OS is a fresh new platform leveraging two key acquisitions: QNX (for its reliability and Flash support) and TAT (for its interface expertise). Together, these ingredients create an environment that's optimized for multitasking."
  • CNet's Donald Bell: "The BlackBerry PlayBook ably showcases RIM's powerful new mobile operating system, but its middling size diminishes many of its best features."

Sorting through these reviews you find that there are things the PlayBook does well---BlackBerry Bridge, Flash, HDMI to TV, hardware finish, QNX---and things that are lacking such as apps and the general feeling that the tablet isn't quite complete.

In other words, PlayBook is an imperfect device that has a ton of potential. I'm going to view these reviews through one prism: Is the PlayBook enough to defend its enterprise turf? The answer appears to be possibly. Here's why:

  • BlackBerry Bridge: Most of the reviews thought that BlackBerry Bridge was impressive, but also the biggest hole for RIM to fill. In a nutshell, you can pair BlackBerry with the PlayBook. The two devices connect via Bluetooth and applications are enabled. If you have a BlackBerry then this is a nice feature. If not, you're wondering why there isn't a native email, calendar and contact app. For the enterprise---land of the BlackBerry---this bridge between devices may be handy. We 'll count Bridge as an asset.
  • PowerPoint presentations look good. I know a lot of tech's chattering class thinks PowerPoint is irrelevant. But in the real world, PowerPoint is a big deal in corporations. The PlayBook's HDMI cable allows you to hook it up to a projector or TV and deliver a presentation. The catch is that the PlayBook can show you the notes and thumbnails while the big screen shows the rest of the world your presentation. Most of the reviews have glossed over the PowerPoint punch. It matters a lot and makes the PlayBook a notable enterprise tool. RIM's PowerPoint prowess also highlights how Microsoft is snoozing on tablets. Shouldn't Microsoft be leading the tablet presentation charge?
  • Multitasking. The reviews generally had strong things to say about RIM's QNX operating system. Sure, the QNX borrows from HP's WebOS and Apple's iPad, but it multitasks well and that'll matter to the enterprise.
  • Security. While BlackBerry Bridge is a weakness---it's still baffling to me th at there are no native email clients---for IT types Bridge gives administrators security control. There's nothing on your PlayBook because all the corporate stuff is on the BlackBerry, which can be wiped.

Add it up and the PlayBook presents quite a divergence. Initial reviews may pan the device. Consumers may pan the device. The enterprise, however, gets just enough to stay interested and perhaps postpone those iPad deployments. If RIM can keep Android, HP and Apple away from its enterprise turf, the PlayBook is a success---even if it isn't a best seller at Best Buy.

Related:

RIM bets big bucks on Playbook success: Five key questions

Topics: BlackBerry, Hardware, Laptops, Mobile OS, Mobility, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

52 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Mossberg and Pogue

    Both of those guys are so entrenched in being nice to Apple that they never seem to give anyone else the benefit of the doubt.
    cmawson@...
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

      @cmawson@... I couldn't agree more.
      parabyte
      • Are you feeling well? Both Mossberg and Pogue had 1/3-1/2 of their iPad 2

        @parabyte, @cmawson: ... reviews with actual and imagined lacks of that tablet. They actually try to be as critical as possible.
        DDERSSS
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

      @cmawson@... possibly, but in this case they are right. There's no reason to buy a product that doesn't at least have the same basic features as the competition.
      dogfighter99
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

        @dogfighter99 I've yet to see someone use an iPad for anything remotely productive. Atleast this runs Powerpoints? Pair this with a camera/projector and toss it in a briefcase to make a salesrep's day.
        ITSamurai
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

      @cmawson@... I understand why: if you owned an iPad 2, then everything else looks like a POS.
      Gerald Shields
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

        @Gerald Shields Ahmi-gawd it doesn't have gam--erm apps what possible good could it be? (It's ok I know work is a dirty four letter world for Apple Fan boys but seriously the iPad as a tool is garbage.)
        ITSamurai
    • kid gloves with apple products

      @cmawson@...
      Seriously. ipad came out with plenty of flaws and ipad2 with fewer flaws. But reviewers don't call them on it. We're suppose to assume they are flawless and perfect. Any tablet without hdmi output there would be a declaration of war. But ipad didn't have one and the response were "its ok nobody uses it anyway".
      rengek
    • Message has been deleted.

      tech_ed@...
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

      @cmawson@... Nonsense. Even though there's no evidence that OEMs can get away with releasing beta hardware in the modern age, all these reviews are accurately reporting that is what RIM has done, and pretending they can survive such a dumb move. And they're apparently siting the supposed loyalty of the tech management influenced enterprise as their reasoning.

      Not only is this short sighted, it's dishonest, and does no-one any favours. This product is deficient in so many ways, the manufacturer should be embarrassed. Moreover, a smart company wouldn't have released it. The truth is often harsh, but it's obvious this one deserves to fail, and will fail.
      Graham Ellison
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

        hey there and thank you for your information ??? I???ve definitely picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise some technical issues using this website, since I experienced to reload the website many times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I'm complaining, but slow loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and could damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I???m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective intriguing content. Make sure you update this again very soon.. <a href=http://gates-millenium-scholarship.com/>millenium scholarship</a>
        gates08
  • Message has been deleted.

    dogfighter99
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

      @dogfighter99

      Right on the money. Why would I buy a car with the promise that some time in the future I will get an engine and wheels for it. This make no sense as does the Playbook. There are better pads out there already that are fully functional and most likely better priced. Also BB has a bad rep with bringing new products out that fall outside the standard BB phone model. Look at the storm, rushed to market like this Pad and it was a loser.
      Kabcock
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

        @Kabcock
        "Why would I buy a car with the promise that some time in the future I will get an engine and wheels for it."

        Right on the money! As I've said before, consumers walk into a store and ask. "What can it do?" not 'What will it be able to do in the future?" Tech-heads understand the future potential of devices, but I suspect that they amount to a small percentage of people who purchase electronic devices. RIM has put itself into the same position as MS with WP7 and its missing features - "It's coming". That may be enough for many people, but I doubt it will be enough for the device to be the success that RIM hoped-for.
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

      @dogfighter99
      Sorry but everyone in my office already has an ipad or plans to buy one... crazy!
      Hasam1991
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

        @Hasam1991
        I've literally met 1 person who owns an ipad, and I've never met an intelligent person in real life that talks about getting one. My dad asked me about one once, but he can't even use a computer, so I forgave him.
        kstap
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Mixed bag of reviews, but enough to defend the enterprise

        @kris_stapley@... Your obvious small minded bias toward a company (in this case Apple) shows you probably don't have the intelligence to know when you met an intelligent person.
        non-biased
    • Appealing to mainly RIM users is smart business for them atm

      @dogfighter99
      Well don't forget there are a loooooot of RIM phones out there. Playbook appeals to this crowd even though I think it should be to the general crowd. But since people flips out over 1 million ipads as a lot and there are many many more millions of RIM users, rim just needs to sell that 1 million until playbook 2. So they know they are targeting that RIM audience. Not a bad move especially since there would be a limited supply of playbook and by going after the RIM audience, they get a leg up on enterprise market penetration.
      rengek
      • Message has been deleted.

        i8thecat
      • A couple questions for you, Rengek...

        <i>... people flips out over 1 million ipads as a lot and there are many many more millions of RIM users...</i>
        Considering there are some 18 to 20 million iPads now in use around the world and some 100 million plus iPhones, please enumerate for me how many million RIM users are in existence.
        <i>... rim just needs to sell that 1 million until playbook 2.</i> Umm-- one million--in a year? When right now Apple is selling over 1.5 million in a month?

        Please, don't get me wrong here; I'm not saying anything against the Playbook. What I am saying is that your viewpoint is so far away from reality that I'm trying to understand where you're coming from.
        Vulpinemac