RIM PlayBook – Promising, but Not Perfect

There have been rumors about the Blackpad and RIM even acquired blackpad.com for whatever the reason. However, earlier today – RIM announce the plans for a multi-media slate style tablet. This tablet features a 1Ghz CPU, and 1GB of Ram which puts the standard 624Mhz with 256MB of memory that most of the newer RIM devices have to shame.

It has even been touted as the iPad killer for business users. So, why don’t I see this as perfect, or even marketable as perfect? Well, first – when tech blogs are touting this as the iPad killer for business users, that right there is the big problem. However, what I feel as the other problems is completely RIM’s fault.

First, this device will use QNX which is an embedded OS that most consumers don’t see. Your television might be running QNX. It is really stable, and platform capable, but it is not the RIM OS. Blackberry fans are going to now have to deal with a new OS layout, and with OS 6 coming to the 9xx0 series phones, that means more on the shoulders of their users. QNX is by no means a real consumer level OS, and while they say there are apps, they looked more like web pages. If that is the case, than a web connection is needed. They claim that QNX is the tablet OS, but RIM OS 6 could have done just that and require less of a learning curve to their fans which has been RIM’s saving grace in a world of Android and iOS.

There is HTML 5 with flash support. So if it is in this slate, why not a real browser in the phones? If it is a touch screen issue, why not more touch screen phones. RIM has two lines of Touch screen phones – the Storm line which have been regular flops, and the Torch which is on one carrier only. So, now what must RIM users do, buy the slate to get something they all have begging for. Even fanatics of RIM will admit the web browser sucks.

RIM claims that the tablet will have best in class media. I would put that claim off until it comes out, and is judged by the market. As unfair as this sounds, that means beating Apple. I’m not talking about market share so to say, but for those that have will have to believe it’s better, and not just hype either. This will also means real playlist support. Right now, the only two series of devices is iOS with iTunes, and Windows Mobile with Windows Media Player. You can create a playlist, and you can move the songs of that play list to the device, but the device can’t mark the meta data in a way where the play count is counted. This means that people like me that uses that feature will have to pass up this tablet as a superior media device in opting for either iOS, or Windows Mobile.

All of the RIM essentials are there. Push services, email, and BBM. However, for now, the tablet is only wifi, or tethering with another RIM device. 3G and 4G versions are being considered, but with this limitation, it now reduces the marketability even more. Now, people who might have been considering a tablet without a RIM phone will be looking to not RIM for the slate. This leaves more room for Apple, and Android which has been kicking RIM’s a$$ a bit. Also, has these companies learned that having a slate only tablet and using your fingers don’t always work right. They maybe good for content consumption, but not creation. Businesses are creators, not consumers. The only real saving grace is if RIM includes a keyboard with the slate. I don’t think they will, and that means business users are going to have to spend an extra $100 for a bluetooth keyboard.

At least RIM is offering support for their App World. I was afraid this will be forsaken when they said it will run QNX. However, RIM still falls behind in some areas that you will think they will excel at. On my Android based phone, I can get a call recording app, and a SIP client – neither of which I could find on RIM, and both are essential in modern businesses. Yes, I know that this tablet doesn’t have a cellular antenna, but it does have wifi. Basic reception calls can be made with the tablet provided there was a SIP client, and orders, or even some support can be done via a keyboard, and recorded for quality control, and process verification.

There is no mention on storage which could mean everything is on a SD card, and no mention of price which usually means expensive. So, with this in mind – we are looking at a possible failure unless RIM does something right. This is a shame as the tablet is promising, but it needs to truly compete for it to stay in the hands of businesses, and RIM fans.

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