The PlayBook May Be Just Right

Wayne Rash

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10 Hot New Tablets

New and notable tablets for business and commercial users.

The BlackBerry PlayBook that Research In Motion shipped on April 18 has come under fire by many reviewers, and not for what it is, but for what it isn't. In short, it's not an Apple iPad. But in the real world of business, maybe you don't want an iPad. It should be noted in the interest of full disclosure that I own an iPad and I love using it, so this isn't some sort of slam on Apple's product.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is designed to be a partner with a smartphone, ideally with a BlackBerry smartphone. The way it is currently designed, the PlayBook will link to your BlackBerry using Bluetooth, and it will echo the email, calendar and contacts to the screen of the PlayBook. You can also access Web mail from the PlayBook, but right now the device doesn't have its own email client.

You can also use a BlackBerry or other Bluetooth-equipped smartphone to tether the PlayBook and provide access to your carrier's 3G or 4G connection. Because of this, the PlayBook isn't carrier-specific and you don't need a separate data plan to use it. The device will work with Wi-Fi so you don't need to use your smartphone while you're using the device to browse the Web or watch movies.

But what about all of the flack regarding the lack of an email client? To some extent it's justified. Without having its own email client, you must use the BlackBerry if you plan to do things like delete all of that email you don't plan to read anyway. And unfortunately, you can't do this while you're cruising at flight level 380, because you can't use Bluetooth on an airliner. So if you're going to erase email, you'll have to switch your BlackBerry smartphone to airplane mode, and delete things on the smaller screen.

According the RIM, the lack of an email client is a security issue. Apparently this issue will be overcome later this year when RIM releases email clients for the PlayBook. This explanation has been criticized by many, and unfortunately not explained by RIM. But what I think is going on is that RIM is working to make the PlayBook's email as secure as it is on the handset. Considering how secure BlackBerry email is, perhaps it's taking a little longer than expected to bring it to the new platform.

In reality, the critical issue for many businesses is security and platform control. BlackBerry Enterprise Server provides both, and the other phones and devices out there don't. If you really need the level of security that comes with BES, then the PlayBook is probably your best option-and it may be your only option.

The difference here is that the PlayBook, despite its shortfall on application delivery and the mixed messages sent out by the company executives, is a platform designed primarily for business but that will also work for consumers. The iPad, on the other hand, is designed for consumers and will also work for business. There's an important difference there, but unless you're trying to find a way to integrate tablets into a major enterprise, it may not be obvious.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 23, 2011 12:04 PM playbook playbook  says:
I do not genuinely remember any pre launch promotion and then there wasn't any real hype at the launch party. I do think Rim suspected that the Play Book probably would not get the reception that the Ipad did and there wouldn't be guys queuing to buy one. I can't help wonder that with such a low key affair did the guys at Blackberry understand that the Play Book hasn't been quite up to their standard. Reply
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Aug 26, 2011 7:08 AM alex96 alex96  says:
In fact, many companies the key issue is security and platform control. BlackBerry Enterprise Server requirements, and there are no other phones and devices. If you really need the security level, and BES, and then PlayBook may be your best choice - it may be your only choice. Reply
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Sep 27, 2011 8:09 PM delliedean delliedean  says:
I agree the Blackberry tablet and Ipad serve completely different markets and each company has position themselves in the appropriate niche in the a href="">Pc tablet market. The difficulty arise when they try to be all things to all men. Reply
Oct 11, 2011 10:10 AM able books able books  says:
you have interesting blog. good post and i think it's very useful. thanks for sharing with us Reply
Feb 21, 2012 1:02 AM auto diagnostic tool auto diagnostic tool  says:
Have been many critics of this interpretation, but unfortunately did not pass the RIM's explanation. But I think that is how is it, RIM is trying to make safe the PlayBook e-mail, because it is on the phone. Consider how to secure BlackBerry e-mail, maybe it has taken longer than expected time to a new platform. Reply
Apr 1, 2012 1:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Great comments but I must admit I am surprised that no one every mentions the size difference. Playbook will slip into the pocket of a sports jacket or suit coat & you can type with both thumbs while holding the Playbook, not so for the ipad. Just FYI Reply

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