Tag Archives | RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

BlackBerry: Vision Needed

RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis at DevCon.

I don’t mean to be painfully Pollyannaish, but I’m almost glad that RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis didn’t announce any new products or other major news at the keynote during its DevCon conference in San Francisco, which I attended on Tuesday morning. A year ago, at the 2010 edition of the event, he unveiled the PlayBook tablet. I got all excited. When it finally shipped months later, it was tremendously disappointing.

This year, the upcoming products that matter for RIM are the first BlackBerry phones based on the company’s new QNX-based operating system–which Lazaridis did say will be called BBX, and which will presumably come out next year. If RIM had provided a sneak peak at them at DevCon, it wouldn’t have helped matters and might have hurt. All that really matters is that they’re great when they finally come out. Who cares how unfinished versions look in a controlled demo?

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BlackBerry PlayBook Sees Kindle Fire, Drops in Price $200

BlackBerry PlayBook price, come on down, you’re the next—or actually, first—contestant on The Price Wasn’t Right, But We’ll Fix That, in view of the Android-based Kindle Fire, which Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled Wednesday for just $199.

RIM’s PlayBook had been going for between $299 and $499, depending on model, but retailer Best Buy just slashed the price on all three models (16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB) by $200 each. If that sounds like a desperate, reactionary move to you, you wouldn’t be alone: Analysts are saying as much in the Kindle Fire’s wake left and right.

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The Amazon Tablet: The PlayBook’s Fraternal Twin

Gdgt’s Ryan Block is reporting an interesting bit of scuttlebutt which I’ve also heard: that Amazon’s upcoming Android tablet is based on the same hardware platform as RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook:

From there, Amazon’s team determined they could build a tablet without the help and experience of Lab 126, so they turned to Quanta, which helped them “shortcut” the development process by using the PlayBook as their hardware template. Of course, it’s never quite that simple, and as I’m told Amazon ran into trouble, and eventually sacrifices were made (like using a slower processor).

Hardware’s important, of course, but it’s not the only thing. As with Kindle e-readers, it’s the Amazon services that are going to be key in making the tablet stand out from other products that look similar.

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler has some related scuttlebutt: the Amazon tablet will be called the Kindle Fire, won’t be available until November, and will compete against a Barnes & Noble Nook Color 2 that’s also in the works for the holidays.

Oh, and Siegler says that Wednedsday’s Amazon event in New York will definitely include the tablet announcement. Which is good news, since I’m flying cross country to liveblog it. Join me at technologizer.com/amazon at 10am ET on Wednesday, won’t you?

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PlayBooks for Cheap

RIM’s PlayBook isn’t selling well–which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s used one. So the price is coming down. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve anything: the problem with the PlayBook is that it’s broken, not that it’s too expensive.

RIM says it’s going to fix the most glaring issue–the lack of built-in e-mail–and with any luck, it’ll have more to say at its developer conference next month, which I’ll be attending. I hope it doesn’t do an HP and kill the product. For everything that’s so very wrong about the PlayBook, its problems are ones of execution–and I still think that it’s possible to build a great mobile platform using the PlayBook’s QNX operating system.

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Sprint’s Rumored Blackberry Playbook Delay is No Surprise

More bad news for Research in Motion’s Blackberry Playbook: A leaked Sprint memo says the carrier has indefinitely delayed its plans to sell a 4G version of the tablet.

The news follows a non-committal from Verizon Wireless, which last month said it was still evaluating the Playbook. Sprint’s alleged memo gave no reason for the delay.

We shouldn’t be suprised to see this happen, but not simply because the Playbook is a critical flop so far. The real issue, I think, is tablet fatigue on the part of wireless carriers. The market’s about to be flooded with competition for Apple’s iPad, so it’s not only a buyer’s market for consumers, it’s a buyer’s market for carriers as well.

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The Era of Beta Hardware

My TIME.com Technologizer column this week is a hands-on look at RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Like other reviewers, I was startled by the lack of full-blown e-mail, disappointed by Flash Player’s quirkiness, and bedeviled by bugs. All of which led me to what seems to be a near-universal conclusion among PlayBook reviewers: you probably don’t want to buy this thing yet.

Still, there’s much that remains appealing about the PlayBook. The hardware is nice and the WebOS-like interface is fun. With a serious software update or three–and more apps–today’s disappointing PlayBook could be the powerful, professional-grade tablet that RIM has been bragging about for months. It’s just that the company essentially released an unfinished product, presumably because it was so very anxious to get into the tablet market before other iPad alternatives had a chance to get an edge.

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Surprise! RIM’s PlayBook Launch a Success

Bet you weren’t expecting this news. Despite the multitude of negative reviews in the press (Harry has a nice roundup here and gave the tablet a decidedly mixed review over at TIME.com), The PlayBook’s launch was not a bust at all. In fact, one could argue that it even was a success. Estimates put the sales numbers on launch day at about 50,000 units.

Now before Apple fanboys come out in force and laugh at RIM’s minor victory, lets put this into perspective. That number is more than either the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Motorola XOOM. While the latter appears to have pretty much flopped so far, the Tab is the single biggest competitor to Apple’s tablet dominance.

Could it be that the technorati was too full of themselves in believing we had the final judgement on the PlayBook, sending it to a premature death? Quite possibly. While its still early it does kind of look like we (well, most of us) may have been wrong to say this would be a flop.

RIM, the ball is now in your court. Fix the obvious issues with your tablet and get your act together with the apps: soon we may be discussing the PlayBook in the same sentence as the Tab and the iPad.


RIM Counters PlayBook Criticism with Splashy Press Event

In the midst of so-so critical reception to its soon-to-be-launched PlayBook tablet, RIM tried turning on some magic this week. At a lavish New York City press event, the newly-minted tablet maker showed off the PlayBook’s sleek good looks, along with some of the 2,000 to 3,000 apps set for availability when the gadget hits retail stores next Tuesday.

In fact, RIM’s App World will ultimately contain about 100 times that number of apps for PlayBooks, said RIM reps stationed along an “App Wall” that took up around one-eighth the floor space of the event venue.

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