Joined: 14 Nov 2003
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|My Unofficial Review Of The Blackberry Playbook!
By Maurice Ali
The new Playbook with our Blackberry Torch companion!
Research In Motion has slashed the Price of its 64GB Blackberry Playbook for any of you that can find one for the low 299.00 price tag (400.00 off) price. Blackberry's first foray into the new tablet market has been less than stellar with the slow selling Playbook costing RIM almost half a billion to hold in inventory. So they have cut the cost to move the stock. Just a couple of weeks ago these things were going for 199.00 - but only for the 16GB model. Now in some innovative pricing you can get any model up to 64GB for 299.00. Of course the only model that makes sense at that price is the 64GB model which is what we have in the office now.
Right off the bat, I can say that the smaller form factor works for me. I can slip it into its neoprene pouch and slide it into a coat pocket and take it anywhere. The others ones like the iPad 2 are too large for this. That is big stuff for me, but there are more compelling reasons as to why we bought this tablet that may or may not soon be discontinued. For one, I am a business man running several corporations and meeting others in the local business industry. They overwhelmingly use Blackberry cellphones and many have the patriotic "buy Canadian" philosophy which I also have. Especially now that RIM is having problems getting back market confidence after several miscues over the last while. If I were to go to some event as the lowly newbie on the scene, I would not make a favorable first impression pulling out an iPad 2 or Samsung Tab. There could be RIM people there and others who are close to them. Many have stock in the company. The reasons go on but showing up with a Blackberry Torch and Blackberry Playbook sends the right message to all. Plus the products are actually quite good.
As I mentioned the size was the biggest winner of the device for me. You can still "pocket" the device. I don't have to lug a bag or brief case with a laptop to demonstrate something to "Joe CEO" as I lobby our organization's cause. With the Playbook it is very quick or instantaneous if on standby and I can just pull out the tablet and bring out any document or web page and show them - then and there! Also, the people I will be lobbying with are all middle-aged. I could bring up the document on my phone but the reaction usually is this look of horror as even with reading glasses most would not be able to see it. I can because I am nearsighted and never got my eyes lasered but holding a phone close to your eyes and squinting is not the best optics at some formal gala. Rather it is better to pull out this small tablet and just show them at arms length. And the Playbook has one of the best screens out there with a wide viewing angle.
I will not wallow in all the specifications but with a 1ghz dual-core processor and 1GB of ram, 1080p 5 megapix rear and 3 megapix front camera, support for Flash until it goes away, a player that plays almost all media files, HDMI output and on and on the tablets is actually cutting edge and beats the iPad in many areas. The downside is the lack of apps in the app world at Blackberry. Their answer is to allow android apps come this February with an update to the OS. You still need to tether or Bluetooth your Playbook to your Blackberry to get push email. But you can still wifi it to other devices like the iPhone and get instant access with the screen shortcuts. In many ways when you actually get your hands on it, the Playbook starts to look really good. So what went wrong.
What went wrong with what should have been a popular competitor to the iPad is that the product was rushed tot he market, and the price was maybe a bit too high to begin with. I know something about the price as the people who bought the thing at 199 love it! Now maybe at 300 to 350 the 16 gig could have made an impact, who really knows. But it you want to go from 299.00 firesale price of the 64GB Playbook to the 64GB iPad 2 at 719.00 then you need better hype. Apple does it best and people love them for it buy buying their overpriced products. But that is just good marketing and good business. As it stands the execution of the Playbook launch could have been better and only now is there a large group of users that could used the proposed updates in about a month.
So what will be the fate of the Playbook. Smart money would say the decision has already been made and the tablet is history - thus the price slashing. But this could be wrong and the device could still return reinvented at bit. Who really knows. Was it wise to buy a device that could be discontinued: Answer - Yes! These devices are leading edge and dinosaurs in two years. There is no long term support for these things and the technology changes so rapidly. So the Playbook should be evaluated as it is now and as it worked for you now. For us it is a winner. I spent today getting a rubber cover protection and screen protector as this is a company tablet and people will abuse the thing. One other thing. You really need to decide if 16GB is enough for you. Less than 24 hours of ownership I have put 11GB in this machine and more to come. 16GB just does not cut it so the extra 100 for four times the storage works for me. Now as to their current promotion, expect the 64GB models to sell out fast and then the #@GB models and then the 16GB. If there is any problems moving the 16GB Playbooks then you could see on last major drop, The choice and chance is yours as this tablet is made from quality materials and you are getting it at a bargain. Don't believe me, then check out a tablet from Dell and see the difference!
I personally hope RIM gets out of their current problems and comes back stronger than ever with their new devices on their new operating system. Apple is sure to stumble a bit with the loss of Steve Jobs. That area of business is very fluid and anything can happen. But no matter what happens to the fate of the Playbook, I can honestly say that this tablet is a first rate device and that is why we now own it!