PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

Summary: With less than 14 days before the BlackBerry PlayBook hits the stores, the advertising campaign has yet to begin. Or maybe it already has, and this is it: sweet nothing.

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"Order early. Brag often": the message we see on the pre-order sites. Well, I'm sure people would, had they even an inkling that the upcoming BlackBerry tablet even existed.

BerryReview pointed out that there has not been a single US or Canadian television commercial advertising the upcoming tablet. On this side of the pond in England, there too has been a strange, eering wall of silence from the BlackBerry maker.

It seems besides a few videos on the web, and the PlayBook website of course, there is very little marketing to show for the up and coming iPad competitor.

It's as if they're denying themselves a potential market, by brushing the tablet under the carpet before it has even launched. To be honest, I would not be surprised if that were the strategy of Research in Motion at this given moment in time.

It could be argued that the PlayBook is already facing the reality of being outshone and overshadowed by competing products; notably the iPad 2, which has seen sales rocket since its release. It was claimed today that Apple may have sold and shipped twice as many iPad 2 devices than they did in the first month of releasing the original iPad; estimating over 12 million in the first quarter of this year.

But let us not forget that the BlackBerry PlayBook operating system, based on QNX, is still in development even up until the minute of release. Last month, it emerged that the PlayBook would launch without a native email application, suggesting the work is still ongoing.

With less than a fortnight to go until the PlayBook is released, already it is looking bleak for the tablet.

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

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30 comments
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  • Have you seen any PlayBook advertisements?

    And are you even interested in the BlackBerry tablet? There is still no word on how capable the battery is, except that it is "competitive with other tablets on the market". Would not knowing the battery life of the PlayBook deter you from buying one?
    zwhittaker
    • Yes

      @zwhittaker Having pre-ordered one I'd say so (I am "even" interested). Looks great. Those that have had hands on speak highly of it. Seems to out-class the iPad in most respects. And it is actually portable, which was the clincher for me.
      southlander
    • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

      @zwhittaker My laptop advertized its battery length to be seven hours, it can reach nowhere near that. My smartphone also claimed long battery life and can not reach that. Not knowing the battery life has little effect on my decision to buy the PlayBook. I think the OS and the ability to view flash has the biggest impact for me.
      redout
    • Battery life is a key; but PlayBook also has weak SGX540 graphics, times ..

      @zwhittaker: ... slower than iPad2' SGS543MP2. Also it is not confirmed if TI's SoC includes full-fledged FPU like Apple's A5, or cheap/cut-down version like in Tegra-2, which is up to 10 (!) times weaker.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

        @denisrs With all due respect, let's give both manufacturers their fair comparison as both the iPad2 and Playbook have their performance merits. The iPad2 has a superior dual-core graphics chip (PowerVR SGX543MP2 vs PowerVR PowerVR SGX 540) which has a single core GPU.

        The Playbook does have double the RAM. (1GB vs 512MB). The Playbook's 1GHz dual-core CPU (TI OMAP 4430) according to engadget has also outperformed the dualcore 900MHz dual-core A5 by a wide margin in benchmark tests.

        There is also the factor that the iPad's CPU although advertised as dual core 1GHz is actually dual-core 900MHz, and we don't know if the Playbook will come with all the horses or if the CPU will be underclocked.

        There is also the very real issue of OS/Kernel performance. The greatest hardware specs in the world doesn't mean much if the OS it's running can't take advantage of it.
        NO_CARRIER
    • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

      @zwhittaker I'm interested in the entire tablet race at the moment. I'm not too concerned about battery life, it's more the user experience and the capabilities of the tablet that interests me the most. (ipad vs xoom vs hp vs rim).
      NO_CARRIER
  • Is this unusual?

    Were there ads before the iPad was released?
    x I'm tc
    • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

      @jdakula You would think there would be if they were serious about the tablet competing with others.
      zwhittaker
      • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

        @zwhittaker <br><br>Dunno. Seems to me they should start advertising when the product comes out. If launch day comes around and there's still no adds, that'd be something; although, in fact, if the preorders exceed launch numbers, they may even want to *wait* to advertise.<br><br>Thinking back, I don't think Apple advertised the iPhone 4 until a few weeks after its launch, because they didn't have any product to sell.
        x I'm tc
      • Parrot's Progress

        @zwhittaker

        You've missed the point. They need to slow the bleeding. They need to survive. They blew this one before they started work on PlayBook. They know it. It's obvious. You should know it too. This is not a criticism of the device. It doesn't have to be when the business ethos that supports it, is unstable and reliant on things like IT's own floundering need for self preservation.

        Preoccupation with the device itself is misguided. It's features, it's battery life, are all inconsequential now. It's the software, the ecosystem and the economy that orbits the device that either attracts or detracts from the (potential) use experience. For Apple's competitors, forward facing ads just tread water and cost precious money. Real advertising comes from ubiquity and advocacy. Real advertising is free. The Blackberry fan base will never be able to make enough noise.

        The iPhone redefined the portable paradigm. It replaced a button encrusted businessman's conceit with a formless metamorphic obelisk. It was software incarnate. Game, set, match. Those of you still focused on the device? well what can I say, watch the beginning of Kubrick's 2001 again. Long live the iPad competitors. The extent to which they succeed, is the extent to which they "are" the iPad. The extent to which they don't succeed, is the extent to which they only compete with each other.

        Apple has cordoned supply channels with unrivalled buying power. They have secured the vast consumer market. For 30 years now technology has been defined by personal, private, consumer wares. Apple has defined the arena of "bit" ownership since iTunes. No one company has enabled more bit consumption, or done more to make us covet these bits. They have eschewed the business market with the knowledge that only consumers have the funds to fuel the substantive tech progress. RIM's market is "IT" and IT is parasitic of business which is in turn parasitic of consumer markets. With an additional layer of abstraction and markup in the way, RIM simply can't afford ads.

        Are you really going to sit back in the weeds and launch volleys about ads and battery life? Seriously? D'ya think there might be a bit more to it?
        norgate
    • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

      @jdakula
      It started years before. Apple tablet talk, fakes, speculations went on often ad absurdum. You don't need to the campaign when half the world hangs on "one more thing" which turns out to be a product that bests all reasonable expectations.
      kitko
  • what would they say in the ads?

    that the Playbook:<br><br>-- utilizers QNX OS which was previously used in cars for tele-metrics and navigation , never designed for mobile devices and has been jury rigged to do so by a company not known for software excellence... (couldn't even get a decent web browser up for the longest time. And it's been 7 months since they announced the Playbook, hints at big problems.. ).<br><br>-- it's battery reportedly sucks (QNX never designed for mobile, see above)<br><br>-- it's got few apps and has to use android via emulation mode and that's android 2.3 phone apps not honeycomb (REAL android tablets running Honeycomb aren't selling well, a phone app emulator is a selling point?). Last I read (might have changed) there isn't even a native Playbook app sdk out yet.<br><br>-- it needs a blackberry tether to be fully functional. Does not have native PIMs like email, contacts etc does not have 3G unless tethered... (this is supposed to be a high end business device?)<br><br>-- price. costs the same as an iPad but with 45% of the screen area (sq. inch)
    Davewrite
    • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

      @Davewrite <br>- QNX OS is being used in various form of mobile devices, It is being used in world class military communications mobile devices such as Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-152(C). QNX made a tablet called Audrey running on a 200 MHz Geode GX 1 CPU, with 16 MB of flash ROM and 32 MB of RAM and you can take that as a great, great grandaddy of iPad.<br><br>- Playbook browser is a jewel in it's crown. It puts Safari on iPad to same. The browser comes from Torch mobile who is one of the major contributors to the webkit consortium like Apple. It runs flash like no one else<br><br>- QNX has EAL +4 certification. Organizations such as the US Army, NASA, BAE Systems, Harris, Lockheed Martin, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and Boeing have engaged with QNX Software <br><br>- Playbook can tether to any mobile device and need not be a blackberry. It can tether to a iPhone, Android or a WP7 or matter of fact any other mobile device that supports Bluetooth tethering.<br><br>- Blackberry bridge (once bridged to a blackberry phone you will be to access not only email, contact and calendar but the entire file system on the balckberry phone including the SD), presentation mode(using which you can display something on your large screen HDTV via Playbook's HDMI port and at the sametime do something completely different on your Playbook) and real multitasking are the few features that are exclusive to Blackberry Playbook and a notch above the competition.<br><br>-QNX has SMP (symmetrical multitasking) since 2004 and they hold patents on SMP and DMP, wait until they unleash the DMP(distributed multiprocessing) when QNX OS makes it to Blackberry phones.<br><br>- It is a notch above iPad 2 and $499 justifies it very much.
      sfo-giants
      • the Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-152(C) weighs 1 kilo

        @sfo-giants <br><br>ok maybe i'm misled by Kaufman brothers analyst Shaw Wu who reports on Rim who wrote " QNX, the operating system on which PlayBook is to run, wasnt designed for it. It was intended for devices drawing power from a wall socket or car battery, not mobile platforms whose power sources are necessarily limited by their own mobility"<br><br>I didn't know about the Falcon but just casually checking on it, it's a radio (how much app running ability it has i have no idea) and weighs 1 kilo (2.4 pounds). <br>well i guess you can still consider that mobile...

        (addition: maybe you and the Kaufman analyst are BOTH right, QNX was never meant to be a modern mobile OS but if you do put it in a mobile unit you need a big honking heavy battery... ? then again maybe the battery is just TINY in that one kilo package, i'm not sure... ?)
        Davewrite
      • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

        @sfo-giants Just because a software is used by the military doesn't mean its more powerful. It says nothing about the OS. NASA sent the astronauts to the Moon on a computer the size of a house but the program was something like 14k in size and used RCA plugs. Smartphones have more computing power than what sent men to the Moon.
        kent42
    • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

      @Davewrite Not exactly true. It "tethers" to any phone that supports bluetooth tethering and can use as a 3G/4G modem. What it also has is the ability to BRIDGE to Blackberry phones and become a large display for the phones core comms apps.
      southlander
    • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

      @Davewrite - I'm not defending the Playbook or RIM's decisions, but I'm all for fair comments and comparisons. And I am open to criticism for/against any product.<br><br>Regarding your points, let's keep everything factual to draw fair comparisons.<br><br>- We should not forget that the QNX microkernel is far more efficient than monolithic kernels. (used in unix, windows, iOS, etc.) It can, and does, run on a watch batteries for days. There are still tonnes of hardware still in use around the world that are running 16MHz CPU's on QNX 6.1. All because the kernel can be scaled (and is used) in neuclear reactors and NASA space shuttles doesn't mean it's energy hungry. It just means that it's scalable and modular.<br><br>However we don't know how energy efficient the layers of the OS. What we do know is that it packs a smaller battery than an iPad and is running higher hardware specs, but it has a smaller screen to power.<br><br>As for the comment about 7 months since announcement before launch hinting at big problems. The iPhone also took 7 months after announcement at MacExpo before it was launched, and it still had enormous success. It was also delayed.<br><br>On that same line of thought, the iPhone had the new iOS operating system at the time (2007) and a native SDK was not available for developers for over a year, it was delayed 4 times before it was finally released. But this still didn't hinder its success.<br><br>The iPhone also didn't ship with a number of features that were commonplace on competing smart phones. (voice dialing, ability to use your own ring-tones, cut-and-paste, ability to search for a contact (had to scroll through the entire list). Apple commented to consumers that these features will 'not be available for release, but will come with future updates'. <br><br>So these really aren't reasons to write off the device, as history has shown us with the iPhone... it could still be successful.<br><br>Let's also not forget that Android Apps on Android devices also run in an emulator on a Linux core. Android 3.0 (honeycomb) is not open source so apps can't be ported over to QNX or any other operating system. Android 2.3 (opensource) at the time of this writing has more 'tablet sized' apps available for it than Honeycomb does, so they're not all 'phone apps'. They are also already 16:9 widescreen format so apps are only scaled, not stretched. iPad has had the issue of most apps being still developed for the 16:9 iPhone/iPod and not scaling onto the 4:3 iPad screen. Developers need to redevelop their apps to both aspect ratios. Over 84% of apps in the app store are 'phone apps' for the iPhone. The remaining 16% are 'tablet apps' specificially designed for the iPad. (based on the latest figures released with the iPad2 launch.)<br><br>- As for WiFi only, this is priced to match with the iPad2 WiFi only models. Let's not compare apples to oranges. (wifi playbook vs more expensive 3G ipad) We should also note that the wifi only models of the iPad2 are the top selling devices with a 3 week waiting period, 3G models are available immediately. (according to the online order form). <br><br>- I believe, and could be wrong. But the 'high end business device' is due to the fact that the Playbooks can be administered en masse by the IT department. Updates can be pushed to all devices, apps can be pushed, and blanket licensing is available for apps. It is also due to data being sent/delievered securely through the blackberry itself, not the playbook, via blackberry bridge. <br><br>In contrast, iPads need to be administered one at a time via iTunes, and the owner of the iTunes account is charged for anything purchased be it work-related apps, or personal-related apps/games/media. It's great for single users, a nightmare for any medium/large sized company to administer with a group policy / security.
      NO_CARRIER
      • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

        @davewrite - I apologize if I reiterated some comments that have been posted previously by the way.
        NO_CARRIER
  • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

    @kent42, QNX is used by so many renowned organizations where performance, reliability and security matters most. One must have already seen how it rocks in the Playbook demos. QNX is extremely scalable as it's architecture supports to either run in a mobile device with small foot print or even as a full fledged desktop capable OS. Cisco's largest routers (CRS) which runs on 24 CPU cores run QNX and mind those routers are so powerful that they can handle up to 92 trillion bits per second, which is equivalent to all the Internet traffic of a single mid-sized country.
    sfo-giants
  • RE: PlayBook due in a fortnight: Still no advertising campaign

    @Davewrite, Shaw Wu is a Apple fan boy and he was just passing on a rumor from a source who used a alpha stage Playbook. Basically he was shorting RIM stock. From various sources who tried Playbook should get about 8-10 hours of battery life.
    sfo-giants