CES: Can the RIM BB PlayBook succeed with need for a BlackBerry smartphone companion?

CES: Can the RIM BB PlayBook succeed with need for a BlackBerry smartphone companion?

Summary: People are getting hands-on time with the BB PlayBook tablet device at CES and discovering that you need a BB smartphone paired up with it to access all of the functionality. Can a limited tablet like this succeed?


CES 2011

RIM revealed their BlackBerry PlayBook back in September, but it was under glass and there were a lot of unanswered questions. Folks are getting to spend lots of time with it at CES this week and after reading articles from Gizmodo and CrackBerry.com I can safely cross the RIM BB PlayBook off of my list of possible device purchases primarily due to the Foleo-like requirement for a BlackBerry device to get the full functionality, including calendar, email, BB Messenger.

I was doubtful RIM would ever launch a tablet device and then when we heard the news in September I was actually a bit excited about it and the new QNX-based BB Tablet OS. I know that RIM still has a major piece of the smartphone marketshare in the US, but without some major updates to the UI I just don't see that growing as fast as iOS, Android, and others. Many companies issue BlackBerry devices, but will they purchase a PlayBook too. It seems to me that a device with the word "play" in it and a heavy focus on media is not very appealing to businesses. Don't business issue BlackBerry devices primarily for the reliable email experience? I know all of the friends I see who have BlackBerry devices from work are a generation or two behind in smartphones as companies need to make sure they are configured just right.

Is there a market for a limited tablet device like the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook?

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, BlackBerry, Tablets

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  • Am I the only one that is disappointed...

    that Rim chose to focus on a tablet instead of their smartphone line? This seems like another in a long line of missteps. I hope the Playbook experiences a great deal of success but what happens to the Blackberry brand if it doesn't? With the exception of the Torch, every one of their devices is last-gen. One look at what is being displayed at this year's CES suggest this gap is only going to get wider.
    • RE: CES: Can the RIM BB PlayBook succeed with need for a BlackBerry smartphone companion?

      @RunSilent23 The new QNX OS running in the PlayBook is going to be running the next generation BlackBerry smartphones. From what I've seen personally of demos and using the PlayBook simulator (I'm a developer) it seems like a pretty solid OS that would make an awesome smartphone.

      That said, there seems to be corporate interest in buying the PlayBook by the thousands for companies that would otherwise be ready to buy iPad, if it wasn't for security and already having the infrastructure for BlackBerry devices.

      While they might have a success on the business side of things, so far I don't see it being a big hit for the consumer, where I expect Android and iOS to continue to dominate.
      • Great points, I will have to still consider it

        @Matt_Fabb@... Ah yes, the security concerns for the corporate environment. If the PlayBook is priced right it actually could be a good tablet option for those BlackBerry users wanting a larger screen to work from. Maybe companies could even more easily support employees having these if they are tied to their secure BB devices so employees wouldn't have to consider an iPad or Android tablet.
        palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • It will sell, and RIM will make a little money...

    but I don't see it being a major success story like the iPad or like what will probably happen with a lot of the Android tablets...
    • RE: CES: Can the RIM BB PlayBook succeed with need for a BlackBerry smartphone companion?

      @enkh855 There is still great interest in the smartphone market from RIM. I being one of them.....I currently have a Blackbery Tour 9630 and am just waiting to see what new smartphones RIM has to offer.....I hope they will get in the game.....RIM has a great base to work from and a solid platform (my opinion) that is stable and can be modifed to suit my needs for my needs... My experience is this ....keeping up is much easier than catching up.....My support for RIM and its products will go a long way for now....
  • Purely a "professional" play by RIM

    Being a enterprise mobility administrator and having full oversight of Blackberry, iPhone etc I'm mixed at the lack of on device PIM functionality. From the enterprise perspective (which is really RIM's play here) it has appeal as a large amount of companys still use Blackberry, so this provides:

    - single mailbox to manage
    - erases any need for data protection / security
    - no secondary data plan costs
    - robust browser / media
    - tablet factor for larger viewing / presentation needs

    Now I would expect some form of email / calendar / contact app as a consumer / non BES user where I don't see Playbook as a secondary device but my only device and in that regard it needs that functionality.

    It will be interesting if the embedded 4G model or others with carrier chipsets can be added to the BES as every device you add to the BES requires a PIN and presently you can only have one PIN per exchange mailbox thus the current setup where the Playbook is paired with the Blackberry for that function.

    I'm also interested in how web based email, either Exchange web based or cloud (hotmail etc) funtions due to the robust browser.