BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

Summary: The iPad 2 is enjoying brisk sales since the launch last week. One tablet coming in a few weeks that could definitely give the iPad some serious competition is the BlackBerry PlayBook.

SHARE:

No doubt Apple is feeling pretty good about things with sales of the iPad 2 keeping the company coffers overflowing. That's why everyone is talking about the tablets coming down the pike to give the iPad 2 a run for that money. Such talk usually centers around the Motorola XOOM which is already on retailer shelves, and also the HP TouchPad which is scheduled to appear soon. One tablet coming in a few weeks that could give the iPad some serious competition is the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The PlayBook is a 7-inch tablet that RIM is hoping will stimulate the BlackBerry line into the prominence of old. The company has been pushing the PlayBook for several months at every major geek gathering on the planet. While it is not certain the PlayBook will be a fitting rival for the slate from Cupertino, there are a couple of reasons to think it might do better than many expect.

Design. The HP TouchPad design has captured the attention of many who have seen it first-hand, myself included, because it is new and innovative. While the folks at RIM will likely deny it, the PlayBook design borrows liberally from some of the best webOS interface features. These include the touch-sensitive bezel that adds special gesture control to the interface and the depiction of running tasks as "cards" on the desktop. Demos of the PlayBook I have seen show the interface design to be compelling, and one that might appeal to consumers.

Enterprise. The second reason the PlayBook may be a true competitor for the iPad 2 is the big one. When the BlackBerry comes to mind it is often in the role of has-been in the enterprise, but the fact is RIM is still huge in the corporate environment. I hear regularly from folks who complain that their employer only allows the BlackBerry in worker's toolkits, because RIM is a trusted provider for large enterprises. This may play a pivotal role in the launch of the PlayBook, as it is squarely aimed at the enterprise. It will not be a stretch to see these same enterprises that exclusively use BlackBerry smartphones, to augment those with PlayBooks for employees that have a need for a tablet. Or perhaps RIM will smartly appeal to the companies to allow employee purchased PlayBooks to tap into the corporate environment. The PlayBook, like the HP TouchPad, has the ability to wirelessly connect to the smartphone for added functionality. This could be a wild card for getting the PlayBook in the hands of consumers, and no other tablet has this option.

The pricing of the PlayBook is reported to be competitive with the iPad 2, with the entry-level model starting at $499. This proves that RIM is serious about getting the PlayBook launched as strongly as possible, and it will be very interesting to see how it is received by both the consumer and the enterprise markets.

Topics: Mobile OS, Apple, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, BlackBerry

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

Talkback

49 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • NEVER!

    Ipad 2 is gods gift to mankind.
    danamarsh
    • Not that much, but PlayBook is thick plasticky thing with smallish ...

      @danamarsh: ... no-IPS no-layers-glued-together screen and with no actual tablet apps.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @denisrs
        And yet is sells more per quarter than all of the windows tablets sold in a decade . . . okay, that might be a little bit exaggerated,but you get the idea ;-)
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

      @danamarsh - more specifically, the ipad 2 is god's gift to the average consumer tablet mankind. People shouldn't compare the 2 devices, they are aimed towards different segments of the market. Ipad 2 will rule the consumer segment for about 7 more years at least. (way head start and solidified ecosystem; think of all the accessories available for the ipad, this is highly appealing to the consumer segment). I predict in 7 years, the market will shakeout to 50% for the ipad, and 50% for everyone else.
      logic103
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @logic103

        I wouldn't peg iPads supreme dominance in the space to last quite that long (though it's profit dominance might). Given how quickly Android was able to catch and surpass the iPhone I would guess the iPad has another 3 years before it's new-buy market share dips down below 30%.

        In 7 years there will also be hardware that can run the full desktop OSes at full power with iPad like size, heat, and battery life and MS will have had some more time to integrate touch into Windows.

        This will significantly de-value using a lightweight OS like iOS in the tablet space when you can get full-power OSes like Windows, Linux, or OSX into similar form factors.
        SlithyTove
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @logic103 : I don't think iPad's domination will last so long. At this moment, all players are in 1.0 releases while Apple is at 2.0 level.

        In time, the market will splinter into Enterprise and Consumer products. RIM and Microsoft <i>COULD</i> rule the Enterprise (if they play their cards well) and Apple would rule the Consumer side, until Android Honeycomb matures and the chip providers increase their volume and decrease their prices.

        webOS is another completely different story as HP will try to make it ubiquitous to all HP offerings, including Laser Printers, All-in-Ones, Netbooks, etc. I don't see a general ecosystem build around it except for vertical markets.
        cosuna
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @logic103
        Possibly, but not definitely. Look at Microsoft. Their OS has dominated the home computer market for many decades. It doesn't even come close to being the best OS there is, and yet it owns the home pc world... no questions asked.

        You could argue this is because they jumped-in before everyone else and grabbed the market when it was up for easy grabs. But the reality is there are many other factors which allowed them to become king of the mountain for such a long time.

        The buying public doesn't always jump-on what is the best... if we did, we would all be driving BMWs, Mercedes, or Rolls. What we normally do is look for what offers the best bang for the buck. This means that when Android or other devices get to the point where they can offer a good decent device for a low price, we'll probably switch and go that way. We're only as loyal as what our wallets allow us to be.
        The iPad could own this market for a very short while (like the Palm OS did in handhelds) or it could stay on top for much longer (like Windows has).
        camcost@...
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @slithyTove
        "Given how quickly Android was able to catch and surpass the iPhone I would guess the iPad has another 3 years before it's new-buy market share dips down below 30%."

        Please name a single market where both Android and iPhone have been simultaneously available for a lifecycle on the same carrier where Android predominates, let alone surpasses the iPhone. You are grossly misinformed.
        DeusXMachina
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @SlithyTove While Apple and Android OEMs are once again competing in the same market like they did/do in the smartphone market Android does not have the same advantages it enjoyed when talking about the tablet market. They no longer have market availability advantage (available on all carriers versus one in the US). You can get an iPad in at least as many retailers as you can Android devices. They don't have the ability to offset their pricing with subsidies. Sure some devices are subsidized to get them closer to or below the price of the entry level iPad but with the iPad you don't have the additional cost of a 2 year contract. In the smartphone market most people pay for a monthly contract anyway so signing a contract to get a new subsidized device didn't cost them any more so no problem. They already have a contract for their phone so they don't want another for their tablet in most cases. They don't have the market diversity available in the smartphone market. The reason Android was able to pull ahead of the iPhone in the smartphone market was the market for cheap devices. These cheap devices are no going to grab much share in the tablet market like they were able to in smartphones.
        non-biased
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

      @danamarsh ipad 2is the best then ?
      www.awwgame.com
      lariosshow
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @lariosshow
        If it's not, then show a real product (not specs on paper) that actually performs as well in the real world.
        This is not just a hardware issue, it also has to factor-in the current software. As of 3-17-2011, the iPad blows Android tablets out of the water by a huge humongous stretch. No comparison. The poor Xoom shows off an excellent piece of hardware but has little-to-no arsenal of decent apps to back it up.

        So, from a usability and functionality point of view, the ipad 2 is the best AT THIS POINT IN TIME!!
        camcost@...
  • Do you REALLY believe that??

    With RIMs plummeting handheld Marketshare do you honestly believe this BB parasitic add-on is going to sell en masse?? Aside from a small percentage of Enterprise Executives that will be receiving these (Director and below - FORGET ABOUT IT!!) is ZD-Net willing to go on the record and say that the Playbook is going to be the Consumer Darling of the Tablet Market?? ZD-Net's journalism (or lack thereof) continues to be more & more based on hyperbole and TMZ style journalism - time to clear my browser history so I dont accidently come back.
    smoody
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

      @smoody No RIM PIM does not mean no PIM. The playbook will have third party PIM (no need for a blackberry). Who cares if the PIM is from RIM or not. All that matters is that it is there.
      de1st
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @de1st Are you Stupid "or something"? Seriously Forrest, just because you own stock in Apple doesn't necessarily mean you should use their product to embarrass yourself on the Internet.
        smoody
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

      @smoody

      For somebody that complains about hypberbole journalism you're demanding a lot of hyperbole from the journalists : quote "is ZD-Net willing to go on the record and say that the Playbook is going to be the Consumer Darling of the Tablet Market?".
      The iPad is far from perfect, in fact, because of the lack of support for Flash and it's clear "lock-in" strategy makes it an absolute "no-go" for many consumers. RIM and HP have chosen the same strategy so we're bound to see Android get out on top of all of these .. but as with Windows it will take a decade or so before the customers start realising they're better off with LESS apps but more "freedom"
      kleykenb
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @kleykenb Are you Stupid "or something"? Seriously Forrest, just because you own stock in Apple doesn't necessarily mean you should use their product to embarrass yourself on the Internet.
        smoody
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @kleykenb [i]The iPad is far from perfect, in fact, because of the lack of support for Flash and it's clear "lock-in" strategy makes it an absolute "no-go" for many consumers.[/i]

        I agree that the iPad, just like any other device, is far from perfect but your claim regarding flash and "lock-in" strategy are just wrong. The average consumer isn't worried in the least about either one which is obvious based on iPad and iPhone sales figures.
        non-biased
    • Plummeting ?????

      @smoody Dont know where you live but its stupid statements like that that wind people up. You clearly don'y have any device in the enterprise and have no idea what this pad could achieve quickly. As I've said before... I gave my iPad back, my iPhone is in my bag sim-less for testing purposes. BB OS ver6 cuts te mustard and resolves the old Internet rubbish that was previous versions. Torch beats my iphone all ends-up in terms of battery life and usability. I fully expect the playbook to be of a similar factor.... Might manage to open passworded docs, might manage to open zip files, will play wmv files, will have flash capability, will be on the right side of the firewall to see sharepoint etc.... and now i'm hearing with BES 5 I can actually browse my network share........ I CANT do ANY of that on my iToy.

      ipad Consumer viewer = great. Business tool? Dream on !
      johnmckay
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook: Serious iPad 2 competitor?

        @GetReal-mac.com Are you Stupid "or something"? Seriously Forrest, just because you own stock in Apple doesn't necessarily mean you should use their product to embarrass yourself on the Internet.
        smoody
    • What a choice of name!

      @smoody Wow, with all the Apple-haters calling everything by Apple a "toy" and all the concern about the enterprise user needing a serious tool, I am truly stunned that RIM chose the name PlayBook. Really amazed that they did, and that no poster here has called them on it yet. Double standard, or simple ignorance?
      frabjous