Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

Summary: Has it really been a rough year for the BlackBerry manufacturer? Considering it's only May, it hasn't been too bad. But it's time to re-adjust the focus.

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"Wait until 2012", says Nokia and Research in Motion, the BlackBerry manufacturer, according to Larry Dignan.

There is no doubt that the BlackBerry PlayBook has had a rough start to begin with. But, with 45,000 devices sold on the first day, it is certainly not the worst start an up-and-coming device has had. Compared to the iPad, however, sales will look poor.

So, stop comparing it to the iPad?

I strongly suspect that, while this has been dubbed an 'iPad competitor', it has been pedastaled as something far greater than it actually is.

It's a tablet, just as every other tablet on the market is. However, the iPad is in a league of its own, and probably always will be. Why try and fight to beat something when you know it probably isn't going to happen?

The problem with the PlayBook is that it doesn't have a niche, yet. Though the BlackBerry brand was built on smartphone sales and the premise of secure communications, the PlayBook will not detract away from the main selling points of the smartphone market.

But ordinary consumers, especially the younger lot, will want Research in Motion to focus on the smartphone. Their eyes are blinded by the iPad and will see no other tablet as a viable competitor.

In fact, the vast majority of those who I have spoken to of my own demographic, didn't know what the BlackBerry PlayBook was, but were intrigued for it to own the BlackBerry name -- and wanted to know more.

While the enterprise environment appears to be excited by the PlayBook's arrival, it has not been pitched at the consumer market. Unfortunately for RIM, the PlayBook only works 'one way': the PlayBook will not automatically become a hit because of the BlackBerry name, but arguably the lack of sales compared to the iPad will not deter the ordinary consumers away from existing and future BlackBerry smartphones.

Research in Motion do, however, need to re-focus their efforts back into the crucial elements of the consumer view. There's no doubt that the BlackBerry device is still as popular as they have been over the last year, with practically one in every five people seemingly owning one.  

2011 may not have been the year that Research in Motion wanted to remember. One could argue, it was "the year the PlayBook revolutionised the enterprise", regardless of the projected fewer numbers they expected. On the other hand, it could be seen as the "year the PlayBook flopped into oblivion".

Ultimately, it's down to perception. And analysts, columnists, and journalists degrading and slating the PlayBook on the popular media bandwagon is not what the consumers take away from it all. Consumers don't like change -- so if it isn't broken, don't change.

Or -- do change, but do it carefully. The PlayBook was rolled out tactfully, but not carefully; which is why it probably missed its mark.

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

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15 comments
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  • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

    Am I correct in understanding that a Playbok will only tether to a BB phone?
    Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

      @ptorning For blackberry specific services yes but not for wifi.
      slickjim
    • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

      @ptorning No, you can tether with any bluetooth enabled phone.(carrier rates apply) Blackberry Bridge requires a blackberry phone.
      kylem1992
      • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

        @kylem1992
        Thankyou for your responses.

        Second question, if I understand the situation correctly, the Playbook does not do email natively; rather, it operates through a BB phone. So, if that is the case, is it possible to access email through a Playbook tethered to a non-BB phone? Are there any other limitations if the PB is tethered to a non-BB phone?
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
  • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

    This little sucker is powerful and the OS is the fastest mobile OS on the market so, I can see this thing taking off as it matures.
    slickjim
    • Remind me. When the original iPad

      @Peter Perry
      was announced (Not yet released) what then did you "see" for it's future?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

        Rim is finally learning. I'm sure playbook will rock the market when they introduce all the great features that made blackberry so great. If anyone wants more information here is an article: http://tablettechtoday.com/blo...
        Zach456
    • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

      @Peter Perry I personally believe that the PlayBook is more of a QNX-based proof of concept -- to then be rolled out across the BlackBerry smartphone series. Thoughts?
      zwhittaker
      • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

        @zwhittaker <br>yes, I agree. It may be useful and appeal to hard-core (this word without hyphen was considered as bad word by ZDNET, come on ZDNET, you Know I didn't mean that) BB users, but I don't really see it as a massive consumer oriented device. And if they turn on Android Market on this, enterprises may say no to it on their networks. Look at Kaspersky's yesterday report about Android Market.
        Ram U
  • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

    Obviously the writer does not use a Blackberry or he would have a different opinion. I plan to get rid of my droid as soon as the contract is up and buy both a Blackberry and a Playbook. I have had a Blackberry before and it was much more work friendly than my Droid. The playbook will be icing on the cake, and the Apps will come.
    hayneiii
    • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

      @hayneiii@... I do have a BlackBerry. Two, in fact. A Curve 8900 and a Bold 9700.
      zwhittaker
  • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

    RIM is being mocked much in the same way Apple was throughout the 80s and 90s. Except RIM is in a much better financial position than Apple was when they began to reposition themselves for the future.

    The PlayBook is not a do-or-die device. And RIM's situation is not as dire as the pundits like to portray. The smartphone market is still growing and the tablet market hasn't even begun to be defined. RIM continues to grow and are making a change to position themselves for the future.
    lajeep
    • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

      @lajeep
      When you owned 90% of the smartphone market and you fall to 20%, that is very close to a "dire situation". The trend for RIM is pointing down...
      prof123
      • RE: Is the PlayBook just 'a blip' in the BlackBerry radar?

        @prof123
        It's economics 101, but when you create a market the only way for market share to go is down. Apple used to have 90% of the touchscreen smartphone market, now it's ~30%, but they're still making buckets of cash. RIM's building a global brand, and is growing revenue 50%+ / year, hardly 'dire'.
        Observer123
  • 45,000 sold number is from RBC which is a RIM partner

    the 45,000 sale number is from an RBC analyst.
    RBC a canadian bank is a Rim business partner:

    "May 12 2008:

    "today announced plans to launch the BlackBerry(R)
    Partners Fund, a US$150 million venture capital fund, to invest in mobile
    applications and services for the BlackBerry(R) platform and other mobile
    platforms. The Fund is to be co-managed by JLA Ventures and RBC Venture
    Partners."

    http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2008/12/c7116.html"

    People can decide how much you want to trust that info.
    Davewrite